Notice anything suspicious? Let Wiltshire Police know

Notice anything suspicious? Let Wiltshire Police know

Published at 12:18pm 22nd July 2020.

4 minute read

There's a plea for us to alert officers about any suspicious activity, especially as the traditional summer holiday time gets underway.

Wiltshire Police are particularly asking us to watch out for any signs that someone might become vulnerable to radicalisation.

Counter Terrorism Lead for the county, Superintendent Gavin Williams said: 

"The threat level for the whole of the UK remains at substantial, meaning an attack is likely. Like all forces, we continue to take appropriate steps to protect all our communities and we're asking the public to remain vigilant.

"During the COVID-19 crisis public places have been much quieter than normal while schools and colleges have virtually shut down. As more and more local businesses continue to reopen and life starts to return to what it was like at the start of the year I'd like to once again highlight the important role the public have in keeping our communities safe.

"Any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report. You could help the police stop an attack and save lives. Do not worry that you may be wasting our time. 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."

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We're being asked to report anyone we suspect might be at risk of being radicalised to them

HOW CAN WE HELP? 

Wiltshire Police is encouraging people to be vigilant and more aware of people that could be affected.

Nationally, there's been a decline in the number of referrals to the Government's Prevent programme in recent months.

Prevent offers bespoke support to those who are at risk of radicalisation.

There's also an interactive online course by Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) that we can sign up to, to learn how to spot the signs.

Superintendent Gavin Williams said: 

"Having more people with a basic level of awareness, and who know what to do if they see suspicious activity, is a real asset to the police and with everything people have had to cope with over the past couple of months, it's great to see they continue to want to want to play their part.

"Like every other police force, we've seen a fall in Prevent referrals in Wiltshire since the lockdown was introduced and this is primarily a result of schools and other statutory services such as social care and mental health provision being impacted.

"Despite the reduction, we know that the threat is not going away. In fact, it is likely that the risk of radicalisation has increased for a small number of vulnerable people, as the pandemic is driving people, young and old, to spend more time online and is exacerbating grievances which make people more vulnerable to radicalisation - such as financial insecurity or social alienation.

"We really need parents, friends and family to be aware of what young or vulnerable people in their care are looking at online - and most importantly what they can do to help.

"If you are worried that someone could be vulnerable to radicalisation there is help and advice out there.  From schools via the Safeguarding Officers, to specialist charities and also the police. If you have concerns about someone, we are here to help."

REPORT IT

If you have an immediate concern about a person you suspect is at risk of being radicalised, you can call police on 101 - if it's an emergency, you're asked to call 999.

You can also join the 70,000 others who have signed up for the ACT e-learning course on their website.

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