Terror attacks 'highly likely' warns head of Yorkshire counter terrorism police
Terrorist attacks across Yorkshire are "highly likely" and the public must not be complacent enough to think the threat has diminished as the country still remains on a severe warning despite the last major attack on the UK being nearly two years ago, the head of counter terrorism has said.
Counter terrorism police are currently carrying out more than 700 live investigations nationwide and working at pace to foil plots.
Since March 2017, officers have prevented 18 terror attacks - 14 of which were Islamist and four extreme right wing - despite key political figures warning the police are under serious pressure dealing managing the threat.
Assistant Commissioner of Specialist Operations Neil Basu, the head of UK Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said that although there hasn’t been a terrorist attack in the UK since the Borough Market and London Bridge attack in June 2017, where eight people were killed and 48 injured, people must remain vigilant.
He said: “Thankfully we have not seen the horrors of 2017 repeated, but we should not be complacent enough to think the terrorist threat has diminished - the UK threat level remains at severe meaning an attack is highly likely.
“Counter Terrorism Policing officers are currently running more than 700 live investigations nationwide, while crucial intelligence from the public has helped police and the security services prevent 18 attacks in just under two years.”
There were 273 arrests by police in the 12 months to December 31, 2018. Of the arrests 63 per cent were related to international terrorism and 18 per cent to extreme right wing.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, from the head of Counter Terrorism Policing said: “The UK, Counter Terrorism Policing and police and security and intelligence services are working tirelessly and at pace to confront the terrorist threat and help keep the public safe.
“As part of the national counter terrorism network, we have specialist officers and staff working across the north east to find information and evidence to thwart terrorist planning and bring perpetrators to justice.
“These investigations focus on a range of activities, including fundraising, radicalising and preparing acts of terrorism.
“Working closely with MI5 and other partners we prioritise our resources against cases that pose the most risk to the public.”
DCS Snowden said it is vital people across Yorkshire play their own part in tackling terrorism.
He said: “The cooperation between public and police is a powerful defence. In recent years, attacks have been prevented and lives have been saved.
“Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) is encouraging communities across the country to help the police tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting suspicious behaviour and activity.
“You are not wasting our time, and no call or click will be ignored. What you tell us is treated in the strictest confidence and is thoroughly researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.
“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.
Some of the signs to look out for include sharing and creating content that promotes of glorifies terrorism; taking notes or photos of security arrangements or inspecting CCTV cameras in an unusual way; and someone who may go away travelling for long periods of time but is vague about where.
Other signs can also include someone receiving deliveries for unusual items bought online, holding passports or other documents in different names for no obvious reason and someone carrying out suspicious or unusual bank transactions.