The Emergency Planning Society has condemned the latest terror attack in Finsbury Park, and urged a sensitive use of language by the media when covering the series of terror attacks on the UK.
Tony Thompson, Chair of the EPS, said: “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. The attack on Muslim worshippers in London’s Seven Sisters Road demonstrates that the current phenomena of radicalisation and its resultant violence is not confined to one section of the community.
“It is imperative that we should all think carefully about the language we employ, particularly in some national sections of the media, when describing the events we have seen over the past few weeks. The self-proclaimed jihadists who carried out the Westminster Bridge, Manchester and London Bridge atrocities have as much to do with the UK’s Muslim community as the Far-Right attacks at Finsbury Park or the murder of Jo Cox has to do with the UK’s white community.
“In the past, there were mechanisms where emergency responders and the media could interface under the Chatham House rule to thrash out such issues, called the Media Emergency Forums. Sadly, these have disappeared since 2010. However, the EPS and the Society of Editors are currently discussing how such mechanisms can be resurrected, and we hope to make progress by the end of the year.”
He said it should also be considered whether Project Griffin should be extended to community based organisations, rather than just businesses – Project Griffin is the national counter terrorism awareness programme for businesses, and is designed to protect cities and communities from the threat of terrorism. Already the EPS provides 23 such trainers, having been approved and registered with the government’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office.
Launched in April 2016, this initiative was initially aimed at the larger UK companies. Over 350 UK companies with over 2.5 million employees have now registered.
But Tony Thompson said:
“Project Griffin now involves other organisations operating in crowded places, such as Premiership Football teams, Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, Universities, and many visitor attractions. Why not Mosques and other religious gatherings that attract large numbers?”
Tony Thompson added:
“Our members – professionals working in the resilience and emergency response sector, including many who will be involved in the response to the attacks in London and Manchester – will continue to play their role ensuring there is a determined response to such attacks. Alongside our work around the Grenfell Tower disaster, we will double our efforts to plan for a safer UK.”