In Northern Ireland the current threat level in relation to Northern Irish related terrorism sits at SEVERE, this means an “attack is highly likely”. We have always said ‘Communities defeat terrorism’. The UK wide Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) campaign urges the public to report suspicious activity (including online content), primarily to keep themselves safe, but also to help police bring dangerous offenders to justice and prevent terror attacks in Northern Ireland.
‘Be Alert, Not Alarmed’
We want the public to ‘Be Alert, Not Alarmed’. If we can spot and report suspicious behaviour and items, we may be able to prevent an attack from even happening.
Hostile reconnaissance is the information gathering phase of attack planning and is vital to the process. It is carried out prior to almost every attack. Being able to identify behaviour which is unusual or out of the ordinary (suspicious) may save lives. Such activity MUST be challenged or reported immediately. If the activity observed will result in imminent danger call 999 and ask for Police.
Use the mnemonic SALUTE:
S Situation: who or what was picked up on
A Activity: what was happening, what was the person or vehicle doing
L Location: where was the activity taking place
U Unit: who made the observation
T Time: when did the activity take place
E Equipment: any equipment that can assist in the evaluation of the incident. For example: CCTV location.
Examples of suspicious activity/hostile reconnaissance:
- Someone in or attempting to enter a restricted area without proper permission/accreditation
- Someone taking photographs where not expected
- Someone deliberately concealing their identity
- Vehicles parked where they shouldn’t be
- Behaviour that is not what would be expected in the environment
- Download the Recognising Hostile Reconnaissance Guide (PDF 418KB)
If you see suspicious behaviour/activity, you must not ignore it. Trust your instincts - your call could save lives.
Suspicious Items - Guidance for the public
- Do not touch
- Try and identify an owner in the immediate area
- If you still think it is suspicious, do not feel embarrassed about reporting it or think that someone else will or should report it
- If you are in a business or at an event, report it to a member of staff or security. If they are not available or you are in any other environment call the Police on 999 if you believe there is a risk to life. If there is no immediate risk you must still report what you have seen – call 101 or the confidential number 0800 555 111
- Be ready to tell the police: who you are, what it is you have seen, where it is, why you think it is suspicious
- Move away to a safe distance