The power to defeat terrorism lies in your hands

Issued on 20/3/18 at 9:00 a.m.

Leicestershire Police needs your keen instincts to help tackle terrorism. If it just doesn’t feel right, report it — you could save lives.

Communities defeat terrorism – this is the concept being emphasised during a four-week national counter-terrorism campaign starting today (Tuesday 20 March 2018) and which is being supported here in the East Midlands.

Over the next month we will be talking about some of the work we do in this area of policing and how you, as members of the public, as working professionals, as business owners, also have an important role to play.

Since March 2017, the national counter terrorism (CT) network has stopped 10 attacks — 23 in the last four years. There are around 600 live investigations involving 3,000 individuals, with 20,000 others posing a continuing concern.

Last year (January to December 2017) there were 466 CT arrests nationally, marking a 35% increase, largely attributed to the attacks in London and Manchester. Of those arrested, 65% were UK nationals and 8% were for extreme right wing activities.

There were 154 people convicted of terrorism offences and 850 people were recorded to have travelled to Syria or Iraq to take part in the conflict.

The themes set out by these national statistics are reflected in the East Midlands. Recent years have seen convictions in the region for seeking to join terrorist groups overseas, keeping a bomb-making manual while stockpiling chemicals and radicalising children by showing them extremist material. Most recently a man from Derby was given a life sentence for attempting to build a bomb.

Our officers and staff also provided investigative support following last year’s attacks in London and Manchester.

But it is the vital contributions from the community that ultimately defeat terrorism.

Detective Superintendent Mark Pollock heads up the East Midlands Special Operations Unit’s Special Branch (EMSOU-SB). He said: “A year on from the attack at Westminster I would like to remind you, the public, of the great influence you can have on stopping terrorism.

“We very much view the tackling of terrorism and domestic extremism as a role for the entire community. We already enlist the help of a raft of partner agencies and community groups in a bid to provide a comprehensive approach, but the power to defeat terrorism also lies in your hands.

“You are privy to a lot more information than you may realise. And you will often have a better instinct for what just doesn’t feel right in what is otherwise a normal day for you.

“We need your understanding about a person, your knowledge of a place, your take on an event to be able to better recognise what might be unusual or suspicious activity.

“Even the smallest piece of information could be important, as it could add to a developing pattern of behaviour. If you have any suspicions we need to hear about them.”

Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “It is communities that defeat terrorism. We all have a key role to play in helping to tackle terrorism. Local people are the eyes and ears in our communities and I would urge everyone across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to always remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity.

“Your actions, regardless of how small or insignificant you think the information might be, could potentially help save lives.”

No call or click will be ignored. You are not wasting our time, and we will only take action after the appropriate checks have been carried out.

Report online here or call 0800 789 321. All reports are kept confidential and you can report anonymously. In an emergency always call 999.

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