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Preventing terrorism and extremism

Terrorism and violent extremism are a real and serious threat to us all. This week, more than 500 frontline police officers and staff across the UK are taking part in National Prevent Policing Week.

Detective Inspector Dickon Turner said: “Prevent is really the grass roots side of our counter-terrorism unit – it’s about communities and collaborative working to safeguard people from the illegal work of a few.

“Our job is to educate and to protect people from the risks of radicalisation and extremism.

Here you will find all the information you might need if you are concerned about a family member or friend and, more broadly, information about what terrorism is and how it might manifest itself in our local communities.

What are we doing to prevent terrorism and extremism?

The best way of preventing terrorism is to stop people becoming terrorists in the first place. Terrorists, extremists groups and their networks promote violent extremism by a variety of methods. Their continued existence relies on recruiting others to their cause.

We are working to stop this by providing support for members of our community who may be being exploited or recruited into violent extremism. We work with local authorities, other statutory partners and community groups to put in place support measures for those individuals who may be pulled towards violent extremism.

the word terrorism highlighted in dictionary

What can you do?

There is no ‘typical’ profile of what kind of person is at risk of being drawn into violent extremism. We do know that family, friends and other professionals are the first people to notice early warning signs that an individual is becoming involved in violent extremism.

Let us know of individuals you feel are susceptible to being drawn into violent extremist activity so that early, appropriate and effective support can be arranged. Likewise, tell us about individuals who are promoting violent extremism.

You can report suspicious activity by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Terrorism online

Terrorists and violent extremists are not restricted to public places in the 'real world', and they can and do exploit the internet for their own means. This can range from radicalisation and recruitment to planning a terrorist attack. This represents a serious risk to vulnerable individuals using the internet.

Some examples of illegal terrorist or extremist content found online include:

  • Speeches or essays calling for racial or religious violence.
  • Videos of terrorism or racial or religious violence with messages of ‘glorification’ or praise for the attackers
  • Chat forums with postings calling for people to commit acts of terrorism or violent extremism
  • Messages intended to stir up hatred against any religious or ethnic group
  • Bomb-making instructions.

If you encounter material on the internet which you think may be illegal, offensive or linked to extremist behaviour, you can report it online:

What should I be looking for?

We firmly believe that it is communities that ultimately defeat terrorism. You can help us prevent terrorism by remaining alert to suspicious activity and by reporting any suspicious behaviour.

Terrorists need time to plan and prepare their attacks and they have to live somewhere. They:

  • buy and store materials
  • must fund their activities
  • prepare equipment and weapons
  • may undergo training
  • may have help from others which may involve people arriving and leaving at unusual times of the day and night
  • may make unusual financial transactions or use false documents to hide their real identities.

Report suspicious activity

If you are unsure or suspicious about somebody's activities or behaviour, however insignificant it may seem at the time, we would urge you to contact us using one of the methods below:

  • Call the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321
  • Report non-urgent crime to us on 101 or use the online crime reporting form
  • Visit your local police station
  • Speak to your local police officer or police community support officer
  • Call Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111 (Crimestoppers is an independent charity working to stop all crime. Your call is completely anonymous.)

If you witness any suspicious activity, trust your instincts and report it. What may seem insignificant could provide a vital link in a wider investigation.

Useful Links

Prevent Tragedies

Let’s Talk About It: Working Together to Prevent Terrorism