Hampshire police urge residents to ‘ACT’ on terrorism suspicions

Mark Bibby

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EAGLE-EYED residents are being urged to be on the alert for potential terrorists as part of a police campaign.

Hampshire police is urging people to vigilant and report any suspicious activity that could be terrorist-related.

It’s part of the nationwide Action Counters Terrorism campaign (ACT) by the National Counter Terrorism Police which launched today.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of counter terrorism policing south east, said all reports would be taken ‘seriously’, adding: ‘It is vital for the public to know that no matter how small the matter might be, if you think it is suspicious and you have concerns, report it.’

‘Counter terrorism policing south east will take all information seriously, any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report.

‘Communities are the key to defeating terrorism and you can help us prevent terrorism and save lives through your actions.’

The new head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing has used the launch of a campaign about terrorist attack planning methods to reveal that more than a fifth of reports from the public produce intelligence which is helpful to police.

The recently-appointed Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations (ACSO), Neil Basu, praised the public’s willingness to act in response to last year’s unprecedented rise in terrorist activity, which resulted in record numbers of people contacting the police through online referral forms and the confidential hotline to report suspicious behaviour and activity.

Now he is launching the second phase of the ACT campaign, featuring a new 60-second film based on real life foiled plots, which will show examples of terrorist-related suspicious activity and behaviour, as well as attack planning methodology.

Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan. If you see or hear something unusual or suspicious trust your instincts and ACT by reporting it in confidence at gov.uk/ACT.

ACSO Neil Basu said: ‘We have been saying for some time now that communities defeat terrorism, and these figures demonstrate just how important members of the public are in the fight to keep our country safe.

‘Since the beginning of 2017 we have foiled 10 Islamist and four right wing terror plots, and there is no doubt in my mind that would have been impossible to do without relevant information from the public.’

Of the nearly 31,000 public reports to counter terrorism policing during 2017, more than 6,600 (21.2 per cent) resulted in useful intelligence - information which is used by UK officers to inform live investigations or help build an intelligence picture of an individual or group.