What is Terrorism?
Terrorism is serious violent crime intended to cause large-scale fear and panic. It is usually directed against a large number of people and committed for a political purpose. It may involve the placing of a bomb in a crowded place such as a street, pub, bus or train, the taking of hostages or the murder of one or more people at random.
What are we doing about Terrorism?
In October 2010, the government published a new National Security Strategy which identified terrorism as one of the 4 highest risks we face. The strategy is called CONTEST and is split into four areas;
Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks
Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack
Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack
The aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.
You can read about the full CONTEST strategy here.
What can I do in the fight against Terrorism?
By remaining vigilant and knowing what to look out for, everyone can play their part in tackling terrorism. Terrorists want to go about their business unnoticed, however, we can disrupt them by looking out for the following signs:
- Terrorists need to travel; passports in different names and multiple identities could all be signs of terrorist activity. Taking unscheduled trips and being secretive about travel destinations can also be a sign.
- Communication; having several mobile phones or sim cards, private conversations that may seem unusual.
- Storage; suspicious use of a lock up, shed, or commercial premises. Unusual deliveries or large amounts of chemicals could all point to terrorist activity.
- Protective clothing; if someone is handling chemicals, they will need protective clothing. This can include gloves, masks and protective suits. Be aware of any unusual purchases of these items, or seeing them discarded in bins.
- Terrorists need funding; this can come from various sources including criminal activity. Cheque fraud and credit card fraud can again point to terrorist activity.
- Cameras; before carrying out an attack, terrorists will often visit places first to film or take pictures. Remaining vigilant in public places is a must - if it looks out of place, it probably is.
Just because someone fits one or more of the above, it wont necessarily mean they are involved in terrorist activity. It may be that we have other information relating to them or they may have a legitimate reason for being involved in any of the above. Either way if you don’t report it, we won’t know about it. Your information could be the final piece of information that we need.
Keep watch for our helpful hints and tips about playing your part, by following our @merpolprevent tweets.
How do I report Terrorism?
There are several different ways of reporting suspicious behaviour or specific concerns relating to an individual, address or vehicle.
- Calls can be made in confidence to the National Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321
- You can call 101 to give information to the police or make an enquiry
- If you have any other information or suspicions about terrorist activity, email us at: email@example.com
- Further to that you can contact your local neighbourhood officer or PCSO
- If you require further protective security advice please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 999 if you are reporting a crime that is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger
You can also report online any online illegal terrorist information that you've found on the internet (i.e. pictures or videos). Your report will be treated anonymously.
And remember if you suspect it, report it…