Police are appealing to the British public, asking them to act as “counter-terrorism citizens” and help thwart plots and stop the wave of Islamic extremist attacks hitting the nation.
Following a series of deadly attacks in 2017, counter-terror officials said tipoffs are essential to them, revealing that more than 30,000 reports were made last year with more than 6,000 yielding useful intelligence.
Signs the public are told to look for include anyone taking notes or photos of security and CCTV positions, looking at “extremist” material, or travelling for long periods of time.
Newly appointed Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told AP: “There’s no such thing as good training for this. It’s about instincts and knowing your community.
“If you feel nervous about it, you should report it. This is an opportunity for every good citizen to be a counter-terrorism citizen.”
I warmly welcome Neil Basu to his new role as the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner and look forward to working closely with him to keep our capital safe and protected. https://t.co/fOOJnKeOFq https://t.co/c684CStUsP
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) March 5, 2018
He added: “2017 came as a shock to everyone but we’ve actually talked about the fact attacks will get through. This isn’t a zero sum game.
“The public should feel reassured they can play a part in this but they’ve also got a global leading counter-terrorism machine that’s working on their behalf.”
The drive for intelligence comes as part of the Action Counters Terrorism campaign, offering people the chance to report suspicious activity or suspected terrorist content anonymously online.
The launch comes almost one year since the Westminster bridge knife and car attack in 2017, which was the first of five deadly terror attacks which took place in the space of six months.
Figures show police and MI5 are managing more than 600 active counter-terrorism investigations relating to around 3,000 individuals.
There is also a pool of more than 20,000 Islamists and “persons of interest” who have featured in terror probes and remain under review.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said in a statement: “The horror of recent terrorist attacks in Europe and beyond is a shocking reminder of the threat we all face.
“We know that we are not immune as the threat to the UK is currently assessed as severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.”
An unattended bag. A vehicle parked in a restricted area. A person filming police officers.
If you ever see something that doesn’t look right, trust your instincts and don’t delay. Report in confidence https://t.co/eNm27RPscN #ActionCountersTerrorism @TerrorismPolice pic.twitter.com/KmO2mG0Fs1
— BTP (@BTP) March 20, 2018