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Terrorism in the UK

The threat from terrorism is real and serious. We've seen that terrorists can strike at any time and any place without warning. The police serve a key role in protecting the UK, but communities defeat terrorism and we need help and support from you and your community. Find out more about what we're doing to keep the country safe, how to spot possible terrorist activity and how to report anything suspicious that you've seen or heard.

Signs of possible terrorist activity

A lot of work and detail goes into coordinating a terrorist attack. 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 (Action Counters Terrorism) by reporting it in confidence. Any piece of information could be important, it's 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 about their activities, both online and in your community, such as the following.


Lock-ups, garages and sheds can be used by terrorists to store equipment. Are you suspicious of anyone renting commercial property?


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?


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?


Observation and surveillance help terrorists plan attacks. Have you witnessed anyone taking pictures of security arrangements?


If you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental seemed out of the ordinary?


Meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they’re going?


Anonymous, pay-as-you-go and stolen mobiles are typical. Have you seen someone who has several mobiles for no obvious reason?


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 and report possible terrorist activity. Our specially trained officers will take it from there.

Suspicious packages

Are you suspicious of a letter or package? Find out about the signs to look out for. If you're in any doubt, leave the package on a flat surface, isolate the area and seek advice.

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, please report it using the UK government’s simple and anonymous online tool.

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