Police urge public to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour
Your call could save lives - that's the message of a new counter-terrorism publicity campaign launched by the Metropolitan Police Service yesterday.
The public play a vital role in helping the police and security services in fighting terrorism and are being encouraged to contact the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 if they see any activity or behaviour they think is suspicious.
The four- week campaign consists of two 40-second radio adverts and three press adverts which will feature on radio stations and in newspapers across London.
The threat to the UK from terrorism remains real and serious and public vigilance and awareness is crucial in helping to create a hostile environment for terrorists.
The radio adverts recognise that some people may be reluctant to report suspicious activity or behaviour, such as a person taking an unusual interest in security arrangements, because 'Chances are, it's probably nothing'.
But it goes on to encourage people to think 'But what if it isn't'?
Just one piece of information could be vital in helping disrupt terrorist planning and, in turn, save lives.
The press adverts focus on the fact that terrorists preparing attacks live in our communities and can leave tell tale signs which the public are encouraged to look out for.
One advert includes a picture of what appears to be a normal neighbourhood garage brimming with bottles of chemicals and boxes. It asks the reader to consider what they see and questions whether the garage is being used by a handyman, a pest controller - or whether it is being used as storage by a bomb maker.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates, head of MPS Specialist Operations said, "We know from recent significant events that the threat from terrorism is very real so we need the public to be vigilant. There continues to be a multi-faceted threat from groups ranging from Al-Qaeda inspired groups, Irish-related terrorism and right wing extremists.
"This campaign is asking the public to consider whether there is anything suspicious or unusual about the things they see every day and designed to raise awareness of the types of behaviour that we have seen among terrorists preparing attacks while living in our communities.
"I completely understand that some people may have concerns about contacting police with their suspicions, but let me reassure them that all information received by the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline is thoroughly analysed and researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.
"I would urge anyone who has information about suspicious activity to contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321."
Police want people to look out for the unusual - some activity or behaviour which strikes them as not quite right and out of place in their normal day to day lives. For example:
Terrorists need storage - Lock-ups, garages and sheds can all be used by terrorists to store equipment. Are you suspicious of anyone renting commercial property?
Terrorists use chemicals - Do you know someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals for no obvious reason?
Terrorists need funding - Cheque and credit card fraud are ways of generating cash. Have you seen any suspicious transactions?
Terrorists use multiple identities - Do you know someone with documents in different names for no obvious reason?
Terrorists need information - Do you someone taking an interest in security, like CCTV cameras for no obvious reason?
Terrorists need transport - If you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental made you suspicious?
IF THE PUBLIC NOTICE SUSPICIOUS BAGS, BEHAVIOUR OR VEHICLES WHICH POSE AN IMMINENT THREAT THEY SHOULD CALL 999 IMMEDIATELY
February 22, 2011