Code Black personal threat encompasses several areas surrounding acts of aggression. These acts can be verbal or physical with the potential to cause physical or emotional harm to a person or damage to property.  

Aggressive or Potentially Violent Confrontations or Suspicious Behaviour

Emergency Action

  • Try to remain calm
  • Alert a warden, staff member, or someone nearby to raise the alarm
  • If applicable, be firm but polite with the individual and let them know the behaviour is unacceptable
  • If in doubt, if any weapons are sighted or violent, or illegal activity appears imminent, contact Police immediately – dial 000
  • If applicable, carry out any directions from offender
  • Do not enter the offender’s personal space, and discreetly move or hide potential weapons, if safe to do so
  • Observe and make note of any details or description of offender (height, weight, gender, age, appearance, speech, accent, etc.)
  • Observe and make note of any details about the event (suspicious objects, what the offender did, where they went, etc.)
  • Consider Lockdown/Shelter in Place if required

After the Incident

  • Every witness should complete a Witness Report Form, adhering to all given instructions in order to gain the most accurate description of the event and offender possible


After each emergency all ECO and EPC members shall meet and participate in a Debrief.

More Information

Types of Threats
  1. Confrontation with an armed person
  2. Confrontation with an unarmed person
  3. Armed hold-up
  4. Assault / Physical Injury
  5. Threatening the life of self or others
  6. Hostage / kidnap scenarios

Due to the nature of a personal threat being dealing with people, it can be difficult to predict and plan for particular outcomes. Common sense and clear thinking are crucial during a code black and when following these guidelines.

Remember to always attempt to deescalate situations, as exacerbating the threat could result in a life-threatening event. Be responsible and understanding without compromising the safety of yourself or others.

Specialist staff or training may be warranted depending on the identified risks. Consideration also needs to be given in the planning stages around the organisation’s legal responsibilities to its staff and occupants.

Active Armed Offenders

Active armed offender attacks continue to be one of the most common tactics adopted by terrorists and other criminals around the world. This is, in part, due to the relative ease of access to weapons, including edged weapons and firearms – although the availability of such weapons varies between countries.

In Australia, the use of firearms in a terrorist attack is considered feasible even though these weapons are well regulated. Recent overseas experiences, such as the April 2017 attack on London Bridge and the Borough Market, demonstrates the ability of terrorists to use edged weapons to inflict multiple casualties and injuries.

Terrorist propaganda continues to encourage individuals, particularly those based in Western countries, to conduct attacks at home if they are unable to travel to conflict zones. Terrorist propaganda – and other sources of violent extremist guidance available both online and offline – can provide simple, practical guidance on how to prepare for and conduct a terrorist attack.

Australia and New Zealand are not immune to active armed offender attacks. Several attacks targeting places like shopping centres, universities and public spaces have been disrupted. Firearms have featured in three terrorist attacks in Australia since 2014. Active armed offender attacks in Australia remain a real, persistent and substantial threat to the community. Violent Islamist extremists are not the only source of active armed offender threat. Any extremist ideology can give rise to this tactic and some offenders may not be motivated by ideology at all.

The deadliest mass casualty shooting in Australia – the 1996 Port Arthur massacre – was perpetrated by an individual with no links to an extremist ideology.

Places of mass gatherings must be especially vigilant in their planning and preparation around such events. The effective coordination of efforts to ensure the safety of those gathered and appropriate resourcing for a response can drastically minimise the likelihood and impact of an attack.