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Combating terrorism

Action Counters Terrorism: ACT

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What is ACT?

Since 2014, the threat we’ve faced from terrorism has been ‘Severe’ which means that an attack is highly likely. But the cooperation between public and police is a powerful defence. Consequently, in recent years, attacks have been prevented and lives have been saved.

Communities defeat terrorism. That’s why we’re launching ACT, a campaign encouraging communities to share any information that may help prevent an attack.

When attacks have occurred in the past, people have said they suspected something was wrong, but worried they may waste police time by coming forward. Or that they might get someone into trouble.

The ACT campaign wants to reassure the public that no call or click will be ignored. And that we will only take action after appropriate checks have been carried out.  Anonymity will be assured and what we are told will always be secure. Anyone who sees something unusual or suspicious should go with their instincts and act.

If they think someone is vulnerable to being radicalised, act. Even if they’re unsure what to do in an emergency, act.

Further details can be found on the NaCTSO website.


Terrorism: What are the signs I should look for?

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Report possible terrorist activity

Unless you trust your instincts and tell us, we won't be able to judge whether the information you have is important or not. The best piece of advice we can give is: if you suspect it, report it.

In an emergency

If you notice a suspicious bag, behaviour or vehicle which you think could cause an immediate threat to public safety, please call 999 immediately.

Report your concerns through Action Counters Terrorism (ACT)

If you see something that strikes you as not quite right or out of place, you should contact police confidentially on 0800 789 321.

All information passed to the police from ACT is treated in the strictest of confidence. It is thoroughly analysed and researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.

Report online terrorist and extremist material

If you come across terrorist or violent extremist content online that you think might be illegal, you can now report this online using the government's secure online form.

Some examples of illegal terrorist or extremist internet content include:

  • Speeches or essays calling for racial or religious violence
  • Videos of violence with messages of ‘glorification’ or praise for terrorists
  • Postings inciting people to commit acts of terrorism
  • Violent extremism messages intended to stir up hatred against any religious or ethnic group
  • Bomb-making instructions

What happens next?

All reports are anonymous and should only take a few minutes to complete. All you need is the web address (also called the ‘URL’) of the website that you think is suspicious.

Specialist officers will assess the information and, where appropriate, investigate the website or work with partners to remove it.

What are the signs I should look for?

Think carefully about anyone you know whose behaviour has changed suddenly. 

Ask yourself

  • What has changed – could it be significant?
  • What about the people they associate with?
  • Have you noticed activity where you live which is not the normal day-to-day routine?
  • Storage - lock-ups, garages and sheds can all be used by terrorists to store equipment. Are you suspicious of anyone renting commercial property?
  • Chemicals – do you know someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals for no obvious reason?
  • Terrorists use protective equipment because handling chemicals is dangerous. Maybe you’ve seen goggles or masks dumped somewhere?
  • Funding – cheque and credit card fraud are ways of generating cash. Have you seen any suspicious transactions?
  • Terrorists use multiple identities – do you know someone with documents in different names for no obvious reason?
  • Surveillance - observation and surveillance help terrorists plan attacks. Have you seen anyone taking pictures of security arrangements?
  • Transport - if you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental made you suspicious? Terrorists need to travel – meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they’re going and who they are meeting?
  • Communication - anonymous, pay-as-you-go and stolen mobiles are typical forms of communication for terrorists. Have you seen someone with large quantities of mobiles? Has it made you suspicious? Do you know someone who visits terrorist-related websites?

Find more information on safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism.

Report illegal terrorist information, pictures or videos you’ve found on the internet. Your report will be treated anonymously.

The UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provide information and advice for those travelling abroad via the gov.uk website.


What should I do if I think someone is using the internet to plan terrorist activity?

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If there is an immediate threat to public safety you should always use 999

Otherwise, let us know by calling 101 or report it through the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Will anyone find out I have contacted the Anti-Terrorist hotline?

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No, all calls and information are treated in the strictest confidence. 

You have nothing to fear from reporting your suspicions.

What if the information I give is wrong?

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Don't worry, remember no piece of information is considered too small or insignificant. 

Our specially-trained officers would rather take lots of calls which are made in good faith, but have innocent explanations – rather than information going unreported.

Do police target certain communities when investigating terrorism?

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No, our investigations happen where the intelligence and evidence takes us. 

We don't target anyone or anywhere because of culture, faith, race or religion. 

Our inquiries are carried out under the provisions of the law which takes into account the human and legal rights of those involved.

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