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Public urged to ‘stay alert’ during festive period as reports to counter-terror hotline more than double
8 November 2023, 06:52
The number of reports to a police counter-terrorism hotline has more than doubled since Hamas launched its attack on Israel.
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The hotline received 1,350 reports between 7 October and 25 October, police said. That is more than double the number of reports compared to the same period last year.
Reports with useful information to investigators increased nearly four times to 200.
"Sadly, history tells us that events overseas can inspire or accelerate acts of violence much closer to home,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said.
"We are working day and night with our partners to monitor the threat picture.
"We're acutely aware of the energising effect the conflict could have on those with extremist or terrorist intent.
"With that in mind, our counter-terrorism units across the country are reviewing their casework and checking that operational police activity is as effective as it can be to keep people safe.
"Critical to this work is the support of the public. As the increase in the number of reports to counter-terrorism policing in the last month shows, there is a real willingness from our communities to tell us about their concerns.
"To those who have contacted police, thank you, your information can have a huge impact on what we do."
In the same period, the national counter-terrorism squad, which reviews material online, has also seen an increase in referrals from the public - rising to nearly 2,000 since October 7.
More than 350 of the referrals have required further investigation to establish if the incidents breach terrorism laws.
Mr Taylor also urged the public and businesses to stay vigilant to the risk of possible terrorist activity in the Christmas and New Year period.
“The coming months are filled with brilliant events and activities, where people will be coming together to enjoy the festive season,” he said.
"Sadly, we have seen before that terrorists can view these as attractive targets.
"Whilst we are working incredibly hard, with our partners, to make sure you can enjoy this time of year safely - our message is simple, stay alert and trust your instincts.
"Whether you're a business, an event organiser, a local authority or simply heading out with family and friends, if you see something that doesn't feel right, please report it.
"You won't be wasting our time and you could save lives."