Police across Sussex and Surrey are supporting a national counter terrorism awareness campaign to encourage people to be vigilant and tell them about simple measures they can take to make it harder for terrorists to attack the UK.
Following the increase of the international terrorism threat to severe, there is a heightened need to ensure that the UK is in the best position to deter and detect potential terrorist threats.
The focus throughout the week from 24 to 29 November is on five key areas where action by the police, businesses and the public can help prevent terrorism: crowded places, transport hubs, preventing violent extremism, terrorist financing,
and the tools that terrorists need to operate.
Officers and staff will be carrying out a range of visits, events and related activities to bring home to the public the dangers of terrorism and what they can do to help combat it
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Cundy, Head of the Surrey and Sussex Specialist Crime Command, said; “While the severe threat level indicates that it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK, there is currently no specific intelligence of a terrorist attack.
“But everybody, from law enforcement, to businesses, to the general public, has a role to play in keeping the UK safe from terrorism.
“Be vigilant. If you suspect it, report it. Nobody is better placed to detect something that is out of place in their communities than the people living in them.
“We encourage people to report suspicious activity by calling the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.”
In Sussex and Surrey, a range of activities are taking place, including;
On Monday 24 November the focus is on the ongoing work to train more people working in shopping centres, cinemas, sports stadiums and other businesses to look out for suspicious behaviour and what they should do if an attack happens.
Special ‘Operation Griffin’ briefing sessions for local staff are taking place at the Amex Stadium in Brighton and at the University of Surrey.
On Tuesday 25 November police will be at transport hubs – Gatwick, Brighton, Guidlford and Woking railway stations, and at the M25 services area at Clackett Lane and Cobham, advising commuters on how to look out for suspicious behaviour and what they should do if an attack happens.
On Wednesday 26 November there will be Prevent’ briefings for students and staff at Colleges in Horsham and North Surrey, and at the Universities of Brighton, Surrey and Chichester. Terrorist groups who pose a threat to us seek to recruit people to their cause but the percentage of people who are prepared to support violent extremism in the UK is very small. Communities can work together to develop resilience to extremist influences and the Prevent programme is part of the counter-terrorism strategy. Its aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
On Thursday 27 November activity includes similar ‘Prevent’ awareness briefings to Surrey Fire and Rescue staff, and to money bureaux in Crawley, Woking, Brighton and Gatwick.
The money bureaux briefings ackowledge that the fight against terrorism includes effective actions to impede the flow of funds that terrorist organisations depend upon to secure weapons and other materials. Terrorists raise money through money laundering, posing as charity fundraisers, placing false charity collection boxes in shops and a wide range of criminal activity.
Law enforcement agencies are also active at all international ports to prevent criminal funds being couriered overseas to aid terrorists.
On Friday 28 November police are engaging with shooting associations and clubs to encourage people to report any concerns about the behaviour of gun owners or users.
Police are asking businesses selling explosives to keep to security standards. Police are asking farmers, retailers and their associations to report any suspicious activity around fertilisers and other chemicals that can be made into explosives.
On Friday 28 and Saturday 29 November officers who normally work behind the scenes will be taking part in a series of local ‘meet the public’ events to brief communities on the terrorist threat.
Other work includes briefings to all police officers and staff.