Police urge the public to be vigilant this winter

POLICE are urging people to be vigilant this winter, as new national figures reveal public reports about possible terrorist activity have “surged” since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated in October.
South Yorkshire Police are urging the public to be 'vigilant' this winterSouth Yorkshire Police are urging the public to be 'vigilant' this winter
South Yorkshire Police are urging the public to be 'vigilant' this winter

With town and city centres across South Yorkshire expected to see increases in visitors enjoying shops, restaurants and Christmas markets this month, Counter Terrorism Policing North East and South Yorkshire Police are asking communities to stay alert and report anything that doesn’t seem right.

The request comes as the total number of reports made across the country by the public using the Anti-Terror Hotline and national online reporting channels reached 1,350 between October 7 and 25 – more than double compared with the same period last year.

The number of national reports with information deemed 'useful' to investigators across the country also went up by nearly four times to 200.

Whilst the terrorism threat level remains at ‘substantial’ - which means an attack is ‘likely’ - police and counter terrorism leads say events in the Middle East and other parts of the world are a reminder of the continued need for people to be vigilant.

Det Supt Matt Davison, regional head of protect and prepare at Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “Sadly, history has shown us that events overseas can inspire or influence acts of terrorism much closer to home.

“Alongside our partners, we are working day and night to monitor the threat and protect our communities from harm.

“Critical to this work is the support of the public.

“As the increase in recent reports shows, there is a real willingness from the public to tell us about their concerns.

“We want everyone to enjoy this time of year safely, so as people come together to make the most of the fantastic events, activities and facilities our cities have to offer, our message is simple, stay alert and trust your instincts.

“If you see something suspicious, or that simply doesn’t feel right, please report it. You won’t be wasting our time and you could even save lives.”

Supt Charlotte Bloxham from South Yorkshire Police’s operational support unit added: “In the run up to Christmas, we will see our towns and cities getting busier than ever and we want everyone to be able to enjoy the festivities, while staying safe.

“We have officers and specialist resources from across our force on patrol in these busy locations in the run up to Christmas, and they are there to help.

“Whether you’re attending an event, heading out shopping, or just going about your day-to-day life, it’s really important that you are aware of your surroundings and report anything that doesn’t look or feel right.

“So if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to stop one of our officers and chat to them.”

If you see something that doesn’t feel right you can report online at www.gov.uk/ACT or call the police to talk through your concerns in confidence on 0800 789 321.

In an emergency, police advise the public to always call 999.