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Found 2 results

  1. National awareness campaign launched today. Security services and the police have thwarted 13 potential terrorist attacks on the UK in less than four years, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed. Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley disclosed the figures as he launched a major appeal for the public to report any suspicions and act on their instincts, saying their help is critical to foiling atrocities. He said since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies have disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots. The figure is one higher than the last tally given in October. Information from members of the public has contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations. AC Rowley said: “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 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. Together, the UK intelligence community [MI5, SIS, GCHQ] and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 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.” Investigators have been making arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014. The official threat level for international terrorism has stood at severe - meaning an attack is "highly likely" - for more than two years. In the year to March, the anti-terrorist hotline received more than twice the number of calls on the previous 12 months, with 22,000 people making contact. AC Rowley added: "Even though the public are doing a great job, we want more help." The public awareness campaign has been named Action Counters Terrorism, or ACT. A poll of more than 2,000 adults found that most respondents believed it was important for communities to work with police to defeat terrorism. However, a quarter of those surveyed said they might not report their suspicions because of fears over wasting police time and almost two in five were unsure about what suspicious behaviour might look like. Security minister Ben Wallace welcomed the campaign, saying: "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." View on Police Oracle
  2. Idea is not being ruled out at present. Following the appointment of Cressida Dick as the new Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police speculation has turned to which issues take priority in her burgeoning in-tray. One which the government has hinted previously could be removed from the force is national responsibility for coordinating counter-terrorism. The Home Affairs Select Committee has previously called for this change to happen, and although the government said in 2015 it would not imminently change anything, the Home Office is currently not ruling out such a change. Terrorism analyst Dr Dave Sloggett was formerly opposed to the idea of transferring responsibility, but he now thinks there is a “good case” for it. He said: “I was against the idea some time ago when the National Crime Agency was struggling. Since that time it has improved. “When you consider the overlap which exists between terrorism and organised crime, you can see an emerging argument for the idea and that it should be given to ‘Britain’s FBI’. “While Cressida Dick has expertise on terrorism, she actually has a very good understanding of the many challenges the Met faces other than terrorism, which is a national issue dealt with across the entire country, and which it could be better for a Commissioner to do without.” But retired head of the National Counter Terrorism and Security Office Chris Phillips disagrees. He told PoliceOracle.com: “We’ve got an arrangement under which things have worked for many years as they are, I can understand why they might want to change it, it’s a cross-border role, but the system we’ve got is tried and tested, we’ve had it in place for many years and we’ve not had a major terrorist attack for years.” Former Thames Valley deputy chief constable Brian Langston said community relationships must be preserved, whatever the model. He said: “Whilst shifting the responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency is worthy of serious consideration, it must be remembered that the seeds of terrorism often lie within disaffected communities. “Misguided and vulnerable young people are often targeted for radicalisation and groomed to carry out acts of violent extremism. “There would need to remain a strong bond between any national agency charged with this responsibility, and local neighbourhood teams to ensure that community intelligence is not lost. Terrorism is both a local and global issue." When asked if changing the national responsibility for counter-terrorism to the National Crime Agency was on the agenda, a Home Office spokesman simply replied: “This government is committed to do doing everything we can to keep our families, communities and country safe, so will always look to ensure that collaboration between police and the agencies working on counter-terrorism and organised crime is as effective as possible." Last week the NCA announced five new appointments to its leadership team including the hiring of Essex Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne as a deputy director and Merseyside Assistant Chief Nikki Holland as director of investigations. Current deputy David Armond has announced his retirement from the organisation. Read on Police Oracle