Terrorist attacks in venues and public spaces - marauding attacks

This risk is featured in the full matrix, representing the averages of multiple different scenarios presented together in the ‘terrorist attacks in venues and public spaces’ category.

Impact 5
risk indicator
ID 3
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


Marauding terrorist attacks (MTAs) involving the deliberate seeking of targets by an attacker can take many forms. A wide range of methodologies, from high sophistication to lower complexity can be used as part of an attack (for example, vehicles, bladed weapons and firearms). Previous examples in the UK include the 2017 London Bridge attack, where terrorists used a vehicle and knives to kill 8 people, and the 2020 Reading attack where a knife was used to kill 3 people. The government reduces the vulnerability to a marauding terrorist attack through a programme of support for venues, public places and specific sectors. This includes free advice, guidance and training through ProtectUK. The government has also published the draft Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill known as Martyn’s Law, which would, if agreed, require certain premises and events to take forward reasonably practicable mitigations


The reasonable worst-case scenarios for marauding terrorist attacks in the assessment include the use of firearms or low-sophistication methods, such as bladed weapons, with the incidents taking place in a venue or public space. Potential impacts from these scenarios include fatalities and casualties, damage to property and infrastructure, increased demands on the emergency services, disruption to essential services and economic damage. Other impacts include disruption to local and regional transport services, disruption to education and short-term excessive demands on hospitals and the wider health service in both the short and long term.

Response capability requirements

The use of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles and MTA Joint Operating Principles enable a coherent multi-agency response. The response to an MTA may utilise the deployment of both specialist and non-specialist responders. Specialist responders (such as armed police, Hazardous Area Response Team and Fire and Rescue Service MTA teams) are trained to bring the attack to an end and treat casualties in high-risk environments and can be deployed from key locations across the country. Local Resilience Forums and their Scottish and Northern Irish equivalents would support wider consequence management.


Local, regional and national victim support structures will be required to support all those impacted. The short-term excessive demands on hospitals may lead to delays in the system for several weeks. There would be a potential impact in the medium term on the tourism industry and businesses in affected areas