Spotting the signs
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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 www.gov.uk/ACT.
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 www.gov.uk/ACT. 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:
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 www.gov.uk/ACT
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.
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 www.gov.uk/ACT.
There are some charities that work with young people to deter them from extremism and prevent them from becoming radicalised.
The Active Change Foundation
The Active Change Foundation is a community project based in Walthamstow in east London with a stated aim to prevent the spread of violent street crime, gang-related issues, community tensions and violent extremism in all its forms.
It runs a Young Leaders Programme which teaches young people the skills and knowledge to help them identify and extinguish conflicts and radical behaviours. Young people are recruited through assemblies at their schools, and trained in public speaking, critical thinking and conflict resolution, as well as learning about the process of radicalisation.
The Foundation is known for starting the #notinmyname campaign (from September 2014) that voiced protest at the actions of Islamic State and the group’s misrepresentation of Islam. If you are interested in getting involved in the work of Active Change Foundation, click here to find out more.
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.