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  • Social unrest – crowd activism, peaceful demonstration or violent and disruptive protest/riots, serious breakdown of law and order
  • Explosive device detonation – improvised explosive device, terrorist bombing
  • Cross-fire – outbreak of conflict between armed actors involving use of firearms, aerial ordnance/projectiles (i.e. missiles, mortar shelling)
  • Kidnap
  • Terrorism – there is a threat of terrorism in most countries. Include in your risk assessment if FCO advises the threat is particularly high in a region you are visiting or if the threat is particularly high to you
Hazard Description and Personal Vulnerabilities
  • Copy out threat descriptions listed by reliable sources, quoting where you have taken the information from e.g. ‘FCO warns risk of kidnap and a general threat from acts of terrorism / sectarian violence. The most recent cases have been in the ______ region. Kidnappings can be for financial or political gain’.
  • Describe the likelihood of civil unrest (during political demonstrations). In some cities protests can occur with little warning and while most remain peaceful, they can turn violent quickly.
  • Some regions are vulnerable to serious violent ethnic conflict between different communities.
  • Distance from a warzone - current or past.
  • Land mines in unoccupied areas.
  • Kidnap - if the FCO or another reliable source (please list) has identified the threat of kidnap in the region as likely then you will need to carry out extensive research on what control measures are advisable. It is likely you will also be required to undertake specific training before you can be permitted to travel. You can discuss this with your department who may seek guidance from the Safety Office. You will have to take your personal vulnerabilities very seriously with this threat; how your gender, nationality, sexuality may put you at a higher or lower risk.
  • Include when risks are most prevalent, for example, when travelling to site or when working.
  • Prepare yourself with the knowledge of where terror attacks have been carried out previously and avoid these places.
  • Are there any significant dates, anniversaries, public holidays, religious festivals and political events that are happening during your stay? Can you avoid these times?
  • If you are planning to visit places that the FCO or other reputable source (please list) has identified as particularly high risk how regularly will you be going? Will you be alone or with a local guide?
Control Measures (actions to reduce risk level)
  • You should explain how you will avoid getting caught up in demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events. If this is an unavoidable part of your work then you should explain how you plan to keep safe and give details of your route to safety if something does occur.
  • Demonstrate how you will carefully plan any travel within areas that are unstable taking into account all the threats. If you intend to move outside the more stable areas you should take advice from hosts or trusted contacts and be prepared to cancel or curtail your plans.
  • Different interpretations of what constitutes civil society and political action differ country by country, so be cautious about any political engagement or activism.
  • If the site that you are proposing to work or study at has measures in place to combat the risk of kidnap you should list these.
  • You should also include what you will do to reduce vulnerability while travelling, for example, hiring secure vehicles or a local guide.
  • Monitor local media before and during your trip – let your department know if the situation changes.
  • If you have a support network of friends and colleagues at the proposed destination then list their details, their experience and what you will be relying on them for e.g. for news updates or as a safe place to stay should threat become extreme and you are unable to travel.
  • If you are entering a hostile environment you should discuss with your department further training that can be organised through the Safety Office – list any training that you have already received including details of specific control measures you were advised of during the training.
  • You should always be aware of your surroundings, and report any concerns to the local security authorities.
  • Subscribe to email alerts and the FCO Travel twitter channel for updates. The FCO constantly reviews the threat to British nationals from international terrorism and as far as possible will reflect any credible threats in travel advice.
  • Prepare a plan of action to follow in the event of an incident.
  • Keep your mobile phone charged and with you, with emergency numbers stored.
  • Consider the extent to which you might stand out from the crowd, particularly when travelling off the beaten track or to out-of-town destinations.
  • Tell family, colleagues, neighbours or trusted hotel staff about where you’re going and when you plan to return.
  • Identify places where you could seek refuge in an emergency.
  • The UK’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has issued advice to the public on the steps to take to keep yourself safe in the event of a firearms or weapons attack. Find out more from NaCTSO about what to do in the event of a terrorist incident abroad.
  • Be vigilant, keep a low profile and vary your routes and timings if you make any regular journeys.


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