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Signs of possible terrorist activity

Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan and prepare, buy and store materials, and find ways to fund their activities. Much of this is done in view of the public.

If you see or hear something unusual or suspicious trust your instincts and ACT by reporting it in confidence (opens in new window). Any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report. You can help the police prevent terrorism and save lives.

You can help by knowing the signs and behaviours of terrorists and being vigilant of their activities, both online and in your community, such as:

  • Storage: Lock-ups, garages and sheds can be used by terrorists to store equipment. Are you suspicious of anyone renting commercial property?
  • Chemicals: Have you noticed someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals for no obvious reason?
  • Protective equipment: Handling chemicals is dangerous. Have you seen goggles or masks dumped somewhere?
  • Funding: Cheque and credit card fraud are ways of generating cash. Have you noticed any suspicious transactions?
  • 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 witnessed anyone taking pictures of security arrangements?
  • Transport: If you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental seemed out of the ordinary?
  • Travel: Meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they’re going?
  • Communication: Anonymous, pay-as-you-go and stolen mobiles are typical. Have you seen someone who has several mobiles for no obvious reason?
  • Computers: Do you know someone who visits terrorist-related websites or shares content that promotes or glorifies terrorism? Read more about online terrorism below.

If any of the above ring true, trust your instincts, ACT and report it (opens in new window). Our specially trained officers will take it from there.

What are the signs of possible online terrorist activity?

Some people use the internet to promote, glorify or help carry out acts of terrorism and violent extremism. You can help by being vigilant for behaviour and content such as:

  • speeches or essays calling for racial or religious violence
  • videos of violence with messages in praise of terrorists
  • postings inciting 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 suspect certain online behaviour or content could be of a terrorist or violent extremist nature, you can help make a real difference. ACT on your concerns and report it using the UK Government’s simple and anonymous online tool (opens in new window).

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