Public urged to act on instincts in ACT campaign

The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) has urged the public to help communities defeat terrorism with the new Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) campaign, encouraging them to act on their instincts to help tackle terrorist threats.

‘Make nothing happen’ focuses on the critical role the public can play in defeating terrorism. The campaign will be the first under a new branding platform called ACT: Action Counters Terrorism, encouraging the public to report suspicious activity to help police prevent terror attacks in the UK and overseas.

The news comes at a time when the scale, volume and complexity of the terrorism threat continues to grow. The public already contribute intelligence to around a third of the most serious terrorism investigations.

This new campaign reassures communities that they shouldn’t be concerned about wasting police time or getting someone into trouble, it communicates ‘don’t worry, don’t delay, just act’ by: reporting suspicious activity to the police by calling confidentially on 0800 789 321 or at gov.uk/ACT; reporting online terrorist and violent extremist material online; and remaining alert at home, work and when out and about, so we can all play our part in defeating terrorism and keeping everyone safe.

Mark Rowley, National Counter Terrorism Policing lead, said: “Since 2014, the threat of terrorism has been severe, which means that an attack is highly likely. When attacks have occurred in the past, people have said that they suspected something was wrong but were worried about wasting police time by coming forward. That couldn’t be more untrue – with some of our highest priority investigations benefiting from information received from the public. We have always said that ‘communities defeat terrorism’. That is why the ACT campaign urges the public to do just that.

“It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public. The number of calls and online reports we receive is also increasing.

This is testament to people’s trust in the police - but now we are appealing for even more.

“Counter terrorism policing is working hard to keep the public safe and we have, with our partners in the security services, helped stop 13 attacks since the appalling murder of Lee Rigby in May 2013. However, advances in technology make it more complex and challenging for us to spot would-be terrorists because it’s easier for them to be in contact with others and be radicalised in a relatively short space of time.

“The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains
vigilant and acts, by calling us confidentially, if they are concerned about suspicious activity.”

Security Minister Ben Wallace adds: "The horror of recent terrorist attacks in Europe and beyond is a shocking reminder of the threat we all face. We know that we are not immune as the threat to the UK is currently assessed as severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

"Our police and security and intelligence agencies work tirelessly, often unseen, day in and day out to keep families and communities across the country safe. The public also have a vital role to play as they are ideally placed to notice activity which is unusual.

"I welcome the police’s ACT campaign which raises awareness about what to look out for and provides people with easy-to-access advice.

"Ultimately, this is a job for all of us. I encourage people to follow the campaign’s message to remain alert but not alarmed by the threat and report any concerns to the police."

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