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FAQs: Reporting suspicious behaviour and activity to counter terrorism

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What type of behaviour or activity could be considered suspicious?

Some examples of suspicious behaviour or activity include:

  • Hiring large HGVs or similar for no obvious reason
  • Buying or storing a large amount of chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders for no obvious reason
  • Taking notes or photos of security arrangements, or inspecting CCTV cameras in an unusual way
  • Looking at extremist material, including on the so-called Dark Web, or sharing and creating content that promotes or glorifies terrorism
  • Someone receiving deliveries for unusual items bought online
  • Embracing or actively promoting hateful ideas or an extremist ideology
  • Possessing firearms or other weapons or showing an interest in obtaining them
  • Holding passports or other documents in different names, for no obvious reason
  • Anyone who goes away travelling for long periods of time but is vague about where
  • Someone carrying out suspicious or unusual bank transactions

How sure do I have to be before passing on my suspicions?

An honest held belief that something is occurring or you have a belief someone is acting suspiciously.

If my information turns out to be incorrect will I have wasted police time?

You may feel it's probably nothing, but unless you trust your instincts and tell us we won't be able to judge whether the information you have is important or not.

Remember no piece of information is considered too small or insignificant. Our specially trained officers and police staff would rather take lots of calls which are made in good faith, but have innocent explanations, than not getting any at all.

How do I report suspicious behaviour or activity?

You can quickly and anonymously report online via www.gov.uk/ACT or you can call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321. Remember, in an emergency you should aways call 999.

Who will take my call or read my online report?

A detective or trained member of police staff will review your information within two hours.

Do I have to give my name or any personal details?

No, it is entirely up to you if you wish to leave your contact details.

Is it confidential?

Yes, reporting is confidential - you don't have to give your details unless you wish to do so.

I am concerned that someone will find out I have contacted the police.

We understand that people might have reservations about contacting police, either because their friends or family may find out, or their suspicions may prove to have innocent explanations. But we can reassure you that all calls and information are treated in the strictest confidence.

What sort of detail will the police need from me?

If you are reporting an incident you have witnessed we will need as much detail as possible, this could include the clothing someone was wearing, their age, height, ethnicity and actions for example.

Will my call be traced or recorded?

Your call will not be recorded. If you wish to leave your details you can do so but otherwise your call will remain anonymous.

How long will reporting take?

It will depend on how much information you are able to provide when you contact us.

What will happen with the information?

Our specially trained officers and police staff who take the calls will assess and evaluate the information you pass on before deciding on what action to take.

Will I be given an update?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide updates, due to data protection issues and because the information we receive is passed to us on an anonymous basis.

If the police need to speak to me again, how will they contact me?

We will only get in touch with you if we need to ask you further details about the information you have provided and we will only do this if you want to leave your contact details.

Will I need to give a statement?

In a case where you are giving information and wish to leave your contact details, you may be asked to provide a statement however this will depend on your wishes.

Does the hotline have a language line?

If you have difficulties speaking English, you can ask a friend who can speak English to contact us on your behalf. However, we will need to take into consideration the type of call and the privacy and level of information being divulged.

I suffer from hearing loss, how can I pass on information which I think may be important?

You can also contact the hotline online via www.gov.uk/ACT.

Can I report my suspicions over the phone rather than online?

Yes, if you would prefer to report information over the phone rather than online, then you can call the police in confidence on 0800 789 321.

Will I get a reward if I pass on information to the hotline?

You will not get a reward if you pass on information to the hotline.

If I don't want to contact police is there anyone else I can talk to?

Family or trusted friends can report on your behalf but we will need to confirm the details provided with you.

You can also report crime or information online or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Always remember, if it is an emergency, call 999.