Violent extremist threats come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists, as well as international terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Lone offenders or small groups may be radicalized to commit violence at home or attempt to travel overseas to become foreign fighters.
The use of the Internet and social media to recruit and radicalize individuals to violence means that conventional approaches are unlikely to detect and disrupt all terrorist plots.
It is therefore important to create awareness on terrorism and its effects on society.
What to look for;
Here are a few examples to help you identify questionable behaviour:
- Someone drawing or measuring important buildings
- Strangers asking questions about security or building security procedures
- Unusual smells or smoke that worries you
- The purchase of supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons
Emphasis should also be put on the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. Citizens should embrace the culture of “If You See Something, Say Something.” Any piece of information you may have could be important. Anything you have seen or hear, anything that your instincts tell you isn’t right, please report it. Specially trained officers and staff will take that information and ensure that it is dealt with in the most appropriate way.
The key to tackling the growing threat from terrorism is the police relationship with, and the support of, local communities. Any piece of information, no matter how small, could make the difference between a successful attack and a foiled plot.
Since the beginning of 2015 security agencies have foiled 6 terror plots, and there is no doubt that would have been impossible to do without relevant information from the public.
Like other criminals, terrorists need to plan and that creates opportunities for police and the security services to discover and stop these attacks before they happen.
But if you ever find yourself in an active shooter scenario there is a plan that might save your life, it is the RUN, HIDE or FIGHT plan. Your survival may depend on it.
Leave the location if there is a safe route, if possible. Insist others go with you but don’t let them slow you down. Leave your belongings behind as they are not important.
If you can’t leave the location, find a place you deem to be safe and which provides protection. Lock the door and barricade yourself in. Pay attention to what you see and hear. Be very quiet and silence your phone and don’t make any unnecessary calls.
If you can’t run or hide attempt to incapacitate the shooter, act with aggression and improvise weapons. Commit to your actions and do not hesitate as victims are selected randomly.
Always remember to call emergency numbers once you are in a safe place. The emergency numbers are 112, 999 and 911.
When the police arrive on the scene, follow their instructions and make sure you can’t be mistaken for a suspect. Don’t hold anything in your hands that could be mistaken for a weapon.
An alert person can play a role in keeping our community safe. Simply, be aware of your surroundings when in public and report anything that does not seem “right.”
What is something that is not “right?” As you go about your daily routine, you know your surroundings and no one can spot something odd or out of place better than you. You are encouraged to use common sense to report questionable objects or behaviour that could be indicative of violence.
“The important thing for people to remember is that no report is a waste of our time, trust your instincts and tell if something doesn’t feel right.”