Millions of potential recruits are being called upon to help police and communities combat terrorism in the UK.
A major new campaign by Counter Terror Police is urging the public to act on their instincts to help tackle the threat of a terror attack on British soil.
Fears that a possible major incident could occur at anytime counter terrorism officers are asking people report any suspicious activity. The ‘make nothing happen’ campaign is the first of its kind under the umbrella of ACT: Action Counters Terrorism, a campaign to urge ordinary citizens to report anything unusual which could help police catch dangerous offenders and prevent terror attacks in the UK and overseas.
“Since 2014, the threat of terrorism has been severe, which means that an attack is highly likely. When attacks have occurred in the past, people have said that they suspected something was wrong but were worried about wasting police time by coming forward. That couldn’t be more untrue – with some of our highest priority investigations benefiting from information received from the public,” said Mark Rowley, of National Counter Terrorism Policing.
“We have always said that ‘communities defeat terrorism’. That is why the ACT campaign urges the public to do just that.
“It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public. The number of calls and online reports we receive is also increasing. This is testament to people’s trust in the police – but now we are appealing for even more.”
Members of the public are urged to act on their suspicions and call the confidential hotline 0800 789 321 to make a report.
It’s been revealed that in conjunction with the security services police have foiled at least 13 attacks in less than four years.
The authorities have admitted that advances in technology have made it increasingly difficult to spot would-be terrorists early enough. Coupled with the increasing use of low-tech attacks on crowded places, like the recent outrages in Paris, Berlin, Nice and elsewhere, public vigilance has never been so important.
“The police and security services do a great job but compared to the 60million or so people living in the UK they are just a drop in the ocean. Defeating terrorism is the responsibility of us all,” said Simon Leila, director of 360 Defence and the first company in the UK to introduce anti-terrorism awareness courses for the public.
“Nobody knows what goes on within our communities better than the people who live there. They are the ones who are likely to spot things out of place or people acting suspiciously. All it takes is a quick phone call to the confidential hotline. It doesn’t matter if it turns out to be nothing. Better to have 1,000 good intention false alarms rather than give a single terrorist the chance to carry out an attack.”
UK Security Minister Ben Wallace said the horror of recent terrorist attacks in Europe should be treated as a wake-up call for everyone.
“We know that we are not immune as the threat to the UK is currently assessed as severe, meaning an attack is highly likely,” he said.
“Our police and security and intelligence agencies work tirelessly, often unseen, day in and day out to keep families and communities across the country safe. But, the public also have a vital role to play as they are ideally placed to notice activity which is unusual.”