People across Bedfordshire are being asked to be speak out about suspicious activity in order to help prevent terrorist attacks, like the ones the country experienced in 2017.
The latest phase of the ‘ACT - Action Counters Terrorism’ campaign launched today (Tuesday) and the new head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing has used the launch of a campaign to reveal that more than a fifth of reports from the public produce intelligence which is helpful to police.
Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations (ACSO) for the Metropolitan Police, Neil Basu, praised the public’s willingness to ACT in response to last year’s unprecedented rise in terrorist activity.
Now he is launching the next phase of the campaign, featuring a 60-second film based on real life foiled plots, which will show examples of terrorist-related suspicious activity and behaviour, as well as attack planning methodology.
He said: “We have been saying for some time now that communities defeat terrorism, and these figures demonstrate just how important members of the public are in the fight to keep our country safe.
“Since the beginning of 2017 we have foiled 10 Islamist and four right wing terror plots, and there is no doubt in my mind that would have been impossible to do without relevant information from the public.”
Of the nearly 31,000 public reports to Counter Terrorism (CT) Policing during 2017, more than 6600 resulted in useful intelligence - information which is used by UK officers to inform live investigations or help build an intelligence picture of an individual or group.
The second phase of the ‘ACT –Action Counters Terrorism’ from CT Policing aims to educate the public about terrorist attack planning and reinforce the message that any piece of information, no matter how small, could make the difference between a lethal attack or a successful disruption.
ACSO Basu added: “Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan and that creates opportunities for police and the security services to discover and stop these attacks before they happen.
“But we need your help to exploit these opportunities, so if you see or hear something unusual or suspicious trust your instincts and ACT by reporting it in confidence by phone or online.
“That could be someone buying or storing chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders for no obvious reasons, or receiving deliveries for unusual items, it could be someone embracing extremist ideology, or searching for such material online.
“This new film has been made to try and help people understand recent terrorist attack-planning methods, but also to demonstrate that each report from the public can be one vital piece of a much larger picture.
“The important thing for people to remember is that no report is a waste of our time, trust your instincts and tell us if something doesn’t feel right.”
You can report suspicious activity to the police by calling 101, or visiting the ACT website (www.gov.uk/ACT).