Counter Terrorism Policing North East and South Yorkshire Police are promoting vigilance across South Yorkshire as large numbers visit city centres to celebrate the festive period.
With a bustling city centre, Sheffield is one city expected to see a significant increase in visitors enjoying its shops, restaurants and Christmas market this month.
Counter Terrorism Policing North East and South Yorkshire Police are asking communities to stay alert and report anything that doesn’t seem right.
The request comes as new national figures reveal that public reports made to Counter Terrorism Policing about possible terrorist activity have surged since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated in October.
Between 7 October and 25 October, the total number of reports made across the country by the public using the Anti-Terror Hotline and national online reporting channels reached 1350, more than double when compared to the same period last year.
The number of national reports with information useful to investigators across the country went up by nearly four times to 200.
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.
Regional Head of Protect and Prepare at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Detective Superintendent Matt Davison, said:
“As the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, UK policing is working closely with affected communities across the country to offer support and reassurance.
“Sadly, history has shown us that events overseas can inspire or influence acts of terrorism much closer to home. Alongside our partners, we are working day and night to monitor the threat and protect our communities from harm.
“Critical to this work is the support of the public. As the increase in recent reports shows, there is a real willingness from the public to tell us about their concerns.
“We want everyone to enjoy this time of year safely, so as people come together to make the most of the fantastic events, activities and facilities our cities have to offer, our message is simple, stay alert and trust your instincts.
“If you see something suspicious, or that simply doesn’t feel right, please report it. You won’t be wasting our time and you could even save lives.”
Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham from South Yorkshire Police’s Operational Support Unit added:
“In the run up to Christmas, we will see our towns and cities getting busier than ever and we want everyone to be able to enjoy the festivities, while staying safe. The Christmas markets have already returned to Sheffield city centre, and we are lucky to have some really exciting festive events taking place across the county.
“Whether you’re attending an event, heading our shopping, or just going about your day-to-day life, it’s really important that you are aware of your surroundings and report anything that doesn’t look or feel right.
“We have officers and specialist resources from across our force on patrol in these busy locations in the run up to Christmas, and they are there to help. So if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to stop one of our officers and chat to them.”
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.