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The current terrorist threat picture in Europe and Germany, viewed against the background of attacks that have continued across Europe this year, highlights the on-going threat to public events. During the Christmas period this could again include the Christmas Markets which take place across Germany and in many European towns and cities.

Christmas Markets can present a tempting soft target for terrorists or to others who want to act out their frustrations on others, not least because of the ease of access to large numbers of visitors, but also because they present an opportunity to achieve maximum effect in terms of casualties and media reaction for minimum effort, be it a lone wolf type attack with a knife and/or motor vehicle or a more sophisticated attack using some form of IED. The religious aspect of the year’s most important Christian festival is also a driver for those of an Islamist extremist bent.

The security threat assessment for Germany as a whole remains at “SEVERE” – an attack is highly likely, and the threat for BFG, which remains unchanged at “MODERATE“ – an attack is possible but not likely.

Visitors to Christmas Markets and large public events should expect to see some heightened levels of security with some events reinforced with physical barrier (concrete block or vehicles) around the perimeter, security access gates and an increase security services presence all likely. Just remember these measures are put in place to prevent an attack from happening and are not likely a result of any specific threat.

Reporting Suspicious Incidents

The Christmas markets are a unique opportunity to enjoy the local culture and hospitality but if you are uncomfortable or see something suspicious then report to the Police.

In Germany. If you think there is an immediate threat to life dial the German Civil Police on 110.

Do not hesitate to report anything suspicious (particularly the activity of people and vehicles) to the Emergency RMP Hotline on 05254 982 2222 (They really don’t mind if it’s a false alarm – better safe than sorry).

In UK. If you think there is an immediate threat to life dial the Police on 999.

Anything suspicious should be reported to the UK Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Be proud of who you are and what you do but remain alert to potential threats at all times and take sensible precautions, including when travelling, socialising and when on-line.

Stay Safe

"Run, Hide and Tell" is the advice given by the National Counter Terrorist Police to anyone caught up in a terrorist incident.

  • RUN to a place of safety. If there is nowhere to go, then……
  • HIDE. It is better to hide than to confront. Remember to turn your phone to silent and off vibrate. Barricade yourself in if you can. Finally, when it is safe to do so….
  • TELL the police. Dial 110 in Germany.

You should not be alarmed by this advice, even with the threat level at SEVERE, the probability of being caught up in an incident is very, very small.