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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.