Action Counters Terrorism (ACT)

ACT is Counter Terrorism Policing’s overarching campaign which brings together all of the different ways that the public can help the police to defeat terrorism and keep themselves safe. Its campaigns aim to warn, inform and reassure the public.

It is now more important than ever that everyone plays their part in tackling terrorism.  The Communities Defeat Terrorism ACT Campaign aims to raise awareness of the key role the public have to play in helping to tackle the terrorist threat by reporting suspicious behaviours and activity at

Signs of terrorist activity

Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan.  They need to prepare, to buy and store materials, and find ways to fund their activities.  Much of this is done in view of the public.

It can be hard to distinguish between terrorist activity and ordinary activity or behaviour, but the police would prefer that you report anything that you find suspicious, even if you are not sure.  You can report suspicious behaviour or activity to the police in confidence via Don’t worry that you are wasting their time, they would rather know about it and find that it is perfectly innocent, than not be told and be too late to stop an attack. Your actions could help the police prevent terrorism and save lives.

More than a fifth of the 30,984 reports to the police last year about suspected terrorist activity yielded useful intelligence.  National Counter Terrorism Policing Lead Neil Basu said: “We want all good citizens to be ‘counter terrorism citizens’. If you feel nervous about it, you should report it.”

These are some of the possible signs to look out for:

Research phase:

  • Someone travels a lot but is vague about where they’re going and why

  • Someone has passports or other documents in different names, for no obvious reason

  • Someone looks at extremist material online, or creates or shares content that glorifies terrorism.  Click here for more information on how to spot terrorist or extremist content online

  • Someone promotes hateful ideas or an extremist ideology.

Gathering and storing of materials:

  • Someone buys or receives deliveries of large quantities of unusual items, such as chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders

  • Someone acquires, or tries to acquire, firearms and other weapons

Observation and surveillance:

  • Someone takes pictures or notes about security arrangements, ie CCTV cameras, security personnel or exit signs


  • Cheque and credit card fraud can be used to generate cash. Have you noticed someone carrying out unusual or suspicious bank transactions?

How do you notify the police of your suspicions?

If you’ve seen or heard something that may suggest a terrorist threat, do not ignore it. Report it! Action Counters Terrorism.

Report it online


Call the police confidentially on 0800 789 321

What will happen if you contact the police?

When you make a report about suspicious activity or behaviour, either online or over the phone, specially trained police staff will assess and evaluate the information you pass on before deciding on what action to take.

The information you provide will be kept secure and your identity will be protected.

The call is not recorded and you do not have to give your name.

More information

You can find out more about what happens when you report and detailed information about the potential signs of terrorist activity, on the Action Counters Terrorism website at


To help you raise awareness among your community about terrorism and how to spot the signs and stay safe, we’ve compiled a range of free campaign materials that you can use to inform and educate people in your neighbourhood.  These resources will help people recognise the potential signs of terrorist activity, and what to do about it.  Click here to access the toolkit.