New figures reveal 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.
In the same period, the number of reports that have been particularly useful to investigators has almost quadrupled.
Now, as we launch our winter campaign, officers are asking communities to continue to stay alert and report anything that doesn’t feel right.
Whilst the terrorism threat level remains at ‘substantial’, which means an attack is ‘likely’, events in the Middle East and other parts of the world are a reminder of the continued need for people to be vigilant.
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.”
As well as an increase in reports to Counter Terrorism Policing since the start of the conflict, the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU), which is based in the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, has also seen a significant increase in referrals.
The CTIRU was launched in 2010 to tackle the growth of online terrorist content. Specialist teams work with tech and social media companies and other partners to remove dangerous propaganda and content, as well as investigating activity that breaches terrorism legislation.
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.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner 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.”
If you see something that doesn’t feel right you can report online at gov.uk/ACT or call police to talk through your concerns in confidence on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always call 999.