A question of credibility: A focus group study examining the experiences of workers attending counter-terrorism training in UK crowded places

Dylan Aplin, Brooke Rogers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The UK authorities have exponentially increased the number of counter-terrorism (CT) training activities being delivered by the Police Service to workers in crowded places. Counter-terrorism training events are designed to help prevent attacks by raising awareness to hostile reconnaissance, assist workers to cope at the time of an incident, and aid recovery after an attack. This focus group study provided a reality check of what is happening on the ground in sessions. Eight focus groups were conducted in significant crowded places (N = 55) and targeted workers who had already been in receipt of CT training. It found a paucity of evidence to indicate the effectiveness of CT training activities in improving the resilience of the public realm. Respondents supported the benefits of realistic and experiential training events closely related to their places of work. At the same time, they recounted how events were often poorly organised and delivered, with some CT practitioners lacking credibility. Sessions were often not based on learning need and were seldom evaluated. A series of recommendations are made to improve the credibility of CT products and their delivery, coupled with strategies to potentially aide evaluation and embedded organisational learning from events.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0032258X2311749
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Volume97
Issue number2
Early online date23 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Crowded places
  • adult learning
  • counter-terrorism
  • policing
  • resilience
  • exercising

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