On Tuesday, 7 September, standard terrorism response plans developed by Latvian State Security Service (VDD) were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. The plans determine the action of the responsible authorities in the event of a terrorist attack.
Standard response plans are developed in order to ensure effective and coherent response of the services and institutions involved in implementing counterterrorism measures in the event of taking of hostages or the seizure of an object, depending on the location of the events. Counterterrorism plan "Object"1 provides actions in the event of threat to land object; "Ship"2 provides actions in the event of threat to ships, ports and port facilities; "Airplane"3 provides actions in the event of threat to civil aviation aircrafts and objects; and "Crowd"4 provides actions in the event of threat to mass gathering places.
Counterterrorism plans "Object", "Ship" and "Airplane" were first developed and approved in 2008 and today updated versions were approved. Aforementioned plans were for the last time reviewed and updated in 2010 and 2017. VDD on a regular basis organises different counterterrorism exercises, where together with other responsible services actions defined in response plans are tested. In the light of the lessons learned and the latest tendencies in the global terrorism threats, response plans are being updated and improved.
Whereas counterterrorism plan "Crowd" is new and was first approved this year. VDD identified the need to develop this plan in the light of terrorism threat tendencies in the last years in Europe and the rest of the world. For the purpose of their attacks terrorists mostly choose easily accessible public places where large numbers of people congregate or mass events, carrying out rapid and direct attacks on people and thus trying to cause as many victims as possible. The plan sets out the actions of the responsible services in the event of a terrorist attack in a public place, which has been carried out using a vehicle, bladed weapons, firearms, improvised explosive devices or a combination of these.
Previously VDD had developed guidelines for the responsible services in the event of terrorist attack to people mass gathering places. The basic principles included in the aforementioned guidelines were tested in national counterterrorism exercises in 2018 in Lucavsala, Riga ("Crowd 2018"), and in 2019 in Mežaparks, Riga ("Crowd 2019"). Based on the lessons learned from these exercises, the counterterrorism plan "Crowd" was developed on the basis of these guidelines.
Response plans are developed only for the eyes of the responsible services and are not publicly available.
VDD is the responsible institution in Latvia that coordinates activities of the state and municipal institutions as well as legal persons’ activities in the counterterrorism field.
Information prepared by VDD
1 Full name – Response plan in the event of a threat to land objects (Counterterrorism plan "Object").
2 Response plan in the event of a threat to ships, ports and port facilities (Conterterrorism plan "Ship").
3 Response plan in the event of a threat for civil aviation aircrafts and objects (Counterterrorism plan "Airplane").
4 Response plan in the event of a terrorist attack (Counterterrorism plan "Crowd").