LONDON: 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 to report suspicious behaviour and activity through online referral forms and the confidential hotline.
Now he is launching the second phase of the ‘ACT – Action Counters Terrorism’ 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. A call to action will encourage the public to report suspicious behaviour and activity via the online tool-www.gov.uk/ACT- helping the police to prevent terrorism and save lives.
“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,” says ACSO Neil Basu. “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 31000 public reports to Counter Terrorism (CT) Policing during 2017, more than 6600 (21.2%) 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. Research carried out by CT Policing suggests that while more than 80% of people are motivated to report suspicious activity or behaviour, many are unclear exactly what they should be looking for. The second phase of the ‘ACT–Action Counters Terrorism’ from CT Policing aims to educate the public about terrorist attack planning and reinforce the message that any piece of information, no matter how small, could make the difference between a lethal attack or a successful disruption.