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Communicating with the public about marauding terrorist firearms attacks: Results from a survey experiment on factors influencing intention to "Run, Hide, Tell" in the United Kingdom and Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1675-1694
Number of pages20
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number8
Early online date20 Mar 2019
Accepted/In press27 Feb 2019
E-pub ahead of print20 Mar 2019
PublishedAug 2019


King's Authors


Effective risk communication is an integral part of responding to terrorism, but until recently there has been very little pre-event communication in a European context to provide advice to the public on how to protect themselves during an attack. Following terrorist attacks involving mass shootings in Paris, France in November 2015, the UK National Police Chiefs’ Council released a ‘Stay Safe’ film and leaflet that advises the public to ‘run’, ‘hide’ and ‘tell’ in the event of a firearms or weapons attack. However, other countries including Denmark do not provide preparedness information of this kind, in large part because of concern about scaring the public. In this survey experiment, 3003 UK and Danish participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: no information; a leaflet intervention; and a film intervention to examine the impact of ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ advice on perceptions about terrorism, the security services and intended responses to a hypothetical terrorist firearms attack. Results demonstrate important benefits of pre-event communication in relation to enhancing trust, encouraging protective health behaviours and discouraging potentially dangerous actions. However, these findings also suggest that future communications should address perceived response costs and target specific problem behaviours. Cross-national similarities in response suggest this advice is suitable for adaptation in other countries.

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