Public urged to stay alert over winter
Launching their winter campaign, Counter Terrorism Policing has urged the public to stay alert and report anything that doesn't feel right.
The launch comes as new figures have revealed that public reports made to Counter Terrorism Policing about possible terrorist activity have surged since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated last month.
Between 7 October and 25 October, the total number of reports from the public to the Anti-Terror Hotline and via online reporting have more than doubled compared to the same period last year.
During the same period, the number of reports that have been particularly useful to investigators has almost quadrupled.
Senior national coordinator for Protect and Prepare, Laurence Taylor, said: “As the international picture continues to develop at pace, UK policing is working closely with affected communities across the country to offer support and reassurance.
“Sadly, history tells us that events overseas can inspire or accelerate acts of violence much closer to home. We are working day and night with our partners to monitor the threat picture.
“We’re acutely aware of the energising effect the conflict could have on those with extremist or terrorist intent.
“With that in mind, our Counter Terrorism Units across the country are reviewing their casework and checking that operational police activity is as effective as it can be to keep people safe.
“Critical to this work is the support of the public. As the increase in the number of reports to Counter Terrorism Policing in the last month shows, there is a real willingness from our communities to tell us about their concerns.
“To those who have contacted police, thank you, your information can have a huge impact on what we do.”
The national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has also seen a significant increase in referrals. The unit was launched in 2010 to tackle the growth of online terrorist content. Nearly 2000 public referrals have been received since the start of the conflict and over 350 of these have required further investigation to assess whether they breach terrorism legislation.
Taylor added: “The coming months are filled with brilliant events and activities, where people will be coming together to enjoy the festive season. Sadly, we have seen before that terrorists can view these as attractive targets.
“Whilst we are working incredibly hard, with our partners, to make sure you can enjoy this time of year safely – our message is simple, stay alert and trust your instincts.
“Whether you’re a business, an event organiser, a local authority or simply heading out with family and friends, if you see something that doesn’t feel right, please report it.
“You won’t be wasting our time and you could save lives.”