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Give children terror attack advice in schools, say police

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Getty Images

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Twenty-two people, including children, were killed at the Manchester Arena attack

Children in schools should be taught what to do in the event of a terrorist attack in the UK, police have said.

The call follows a number of attacks in the UK this year, including the Manchester Arena bombing, which targeted people at a pop concert.

Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said giving advice in classrooms could potentially save lives.

Police have also warned eyewitnesses to flee the scene of an attack rather than trying to film atrocities on phones.

The warning comes after this month’s attack on a London Underground train in Parsons Green, where images of a partially-exploded bomb were posted online within minutes.

  • How to talk to children about terrorist attacks
  • What should you do in an attack?

Counter-terrorism officials already run a number of public campaigns highlighting what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

The “run, hide, tell” advice states that people should first try to flee an attack – or alternatively find somewhere safe to hide – and then alert authorities.

Experts have now drawn up a version for 11-16 years olds, which they say should be taught in schools and colleges as part of the national curriculum.

A special emoji has also been created for the campaign alongside a video, featuring TV star Bear Grylls, England footballer Jamie Vardy, and Olympian Jade Jones.

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Sylvain Pennec

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Images of a partially exploded bomb on a tube train were posted online

Ms D’Orsi, national policing lead for protective security, said talking to young people about terrorism “can be scary”.

However, she added: “The atrocities in London and Manchester have sadly resulted in some of the youngest victims of terror this country has ever seen, and if we are able to teach children to act in a way which could potentially save their lives then it is our responsibility to do so.

“We are particularly concerned when we see people – young and old – using their mobiles to film scenes when they should be moving away from the danger.”

‘Duty to help’

Seven children were among the 22 people killed at Manchester Arena, when a suicide bomber detonated a home-made bomb after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

The youngest victim was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos.

Meanwhile, the NSPCC says it has received 300 contacts from young people anxious about terrorism since April.

John Cameron, head of helplines at the charity, encouraged adults to listen to children’s worries and reassure them that terror attacks are rare.

“Although these conversations might be difficult, the spate of devastating events means that they cannot be brushed under the carpet and we all have a duty to help every child stay safe,” he said.

Written by David Figo in September 28, 2017
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