ProtectUK publication date
Advice for the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack.

Stay safe film

Attacks in the UK and abroad remind us all of the terrorist threat we face. Police and security agencies are working tirelessly to protect the public but it is also important that communities remain vigilant and aware of how to protect themselves if the need arises.

National Counter Terrorism policing is providing advice to the public on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe in the rare event of a firearms or weapons attack.

The police service has released the short public information film called ‘Stay Safe: Firearms and Weapons Attack’ which sets out the key options for keeping safe should the worst happen.

Video file

The film advises those who get caught up in an incident to ‘RUN, HIDE, TELL’ - guidance which can be applied to any place. We know that from case studies and real life testimony based on the experiences of people who have survived attacks the advice given in the film has saved lives.


    • escape if you can

    • consider the safest options

    • is there a safe route? RUN if not HIDE

    • can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?

    • insist others leave with you

    • leave belongings behind


    • if you cannot RUN, HIDE

    • find cover from gunfire

    • if you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you

    • cover from view does not mean you are safe, bullets go through glass, brick, wood and metal

    • find cover from gunfire e.g. substantial brickwork/heavy reinforced walls

    • be aware of your exits

    • try not to get trapped

    • be quiet, silence your phone and turn off vibrate

    • lock/barricade yourself in

    • move away from the door


    Call 999 - what do the police need to know? If you cannot speak or make a noise listen to the instructions given to you by the call taker

    • location - where are the suspects?

    • direction - where did you last see the suspects?

    • descriptions – describe the attacker, numbers, features, clothing, weapons etc.

    • further information – casualties, type of injury, building information, entrances, exits, hostages etc.

    • stop other people entering the building if it is safe to do so


    • follow officers instructions

    • remain calm

    • can you move to a safer area?

    • avoid sudden movements that may be considered a threat

    • keep your hands in view


    • point guns at you

    • treat you firmly

    • question you

    • be unable to distinguish you from the attacker

    • officers will evacuate you when it is safe to do so

    You must STAY SAFE

    • what are your plans if there were an incident?

    • what are the local plans? e.g. personal emergency evacuation plan

    The film has already been delivered and widely used across industry as part of police-led counter terrorism security advice sessions for their own staff. In the same way people plan how to respond to a fire it also makes sense to plan the response to a firearms or weapons attack. These are emotive subjects but experience shows by becoming more alert to surroundings and plan and think ahead people have far greater chance of surviving.

    The intention of the film is not to unnecessarily scare the public but to ensure that they know what steps to take in the unlikely event of being involved in a firearms or weapons attack. It is only responsible that the police issue this public safety guidance as they would do with any other personal safety issue.

    We urge the public to be alert but not alarmed by the threat, and reassure them that the police service carries out daily activities to help maintain the protection and security of our citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places, including those who are potential terrorist targets.

    Our security measures and activities are constantly reviewed to reflect where the threats exist and the level of threat we are facing.

    The level of threat is complex and ranges from lone actors intent on carrying out crude and violent attacks to sophisticated networks pursuing ambitious and coordinated plots - as we saw starkly demonstrated in France and other parts of the world.

    This increased level of activity is matched by increased action by the police and security services, who are working on hundreds of active investigations and making an arrest a day.

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, speaking on behalf of National Counter Terrorism policing said:

    "The police service is working tirelessly to confront the terrorist threat we all face. To do this we need the help of the public. We need them to be alert,but not alarmed. We need them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or in an emergency dial 999.

    "We are releasing this film which we hope will provide practical steps to take in the extremely rare event of a terrorist attack.

    "Communities defeat terrorism, which is why we must maintain the strong relationship between the public and police. We depend on information from the public, who can be our eyes and ears, in our efforts to keep us all safe. We must also give information to the public to help them stay safe."

    Further advice

    Travel industry training staff to deal with terrorist incidents The travel industry is providing training for staff working in the UK and overseas to help keep holidaymakers safe this summer. Holidaymakers are also urged to watch new film to help stay safe

    Documents title

    Run Hide Tell Poster

    Run Hide Tell
    Stay safe