Police in the capital are calling on the public to “trust their instincts” and report any suspicious behaviour they believe may be connected to terrorism. The call comes as the Met launches a new counter terrorism advertising campaign with the message ‘Don’t rely on others. If you suspect it, report it.’.
Anyone who suspects unusual activity or behaviour is urged to call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and officers say “no piece of information is considered too small or insignificant” to be reported.
Deputy Assistant Commisioner John McDowall, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command and Senior National Co-Ordinator Counter Terrorism, said: “Terrorists can be stopped in their tracks if suspicious activity is passed to police. They will not succeed if people report something unusual they have seen while going about their daily lives.”
The campaign, which will use radio and print media adverts, seeks to convey to the public the potential importance of any single piece of information in disrupting terrorism activities.
Addressing the public’s concerns about reporting potentially innocent actions to the Police, DAC McDowall said “any information passed to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline is treated in the strictest of confidence. It is thoroughly analysed and researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.”
McDowall highlighted the following scenarios which might give rise to suspicions of terror related activity:
“Terrorists have a lot of work to do before they attack. They need money and may commit cheque, credit card and identity fraud to finance their activities.
“Terrorists use chemicals. Do you know someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals for no obvious reason? Handling chemicals is dangerous, and maybe you’ve seen goggles, masks or bottles dumped somewhere?
“Observation and surveillance help terrorists plan attacks. Have you seen anyone studying security arrangements, such as CCTV, who shouldn’t be? Has it made you suspicious?
“Meetings, training and planning for terrorist attacks can take place anywhere. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they’re going?
“Terrorists use computers – do you know someone who visits terrorist-related websites?”