New campaign launched to fight terrorism as lockdown restrictions ease

Armed police walking around the APEX venue in Bury St Edmunds as part of a counter terrorism program

Armed police in Bury St Edmunds in 2017. A new campaign has been launched to encourage vigilance in the fight against terrorism - Credit: Archant

The easing of lockdown restrictions could provide greater opportunity for terrorists to operate, the region's counter terrorism chief has warned. 

Business owners and the public are being encouraged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious as non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, and sports events begin to reopen. 

Counter Terrorism Policing has launched a new 'Easing Lockdown Vigilance Campaign' to encourage people to help police in the fight against terrorism

Detective Superintendent Andy Waldie, head of the Counter Terrorism Policing unit at the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), which manages the threat of terrorism in East Anglia, said: “Following a year of restrictions impacting all our lives, we recognise people will be keen to get out and about as the lockdown restrictions ease, and the importance of businesses being able to return to more regular trading patterns.

“Let’s enjoy these returning freedoms, but please do so in a way that help keeps us safe, not just from Covid-19 but terrorism as well.

“The terrorist threat will understandably not have been high on everyone’s mind in recent months, and I would describe the threat as temporarily suppressed during lockdown. The restrictions on public gatherings in the normal spaces meant there was less opportunity for those that seek to harm our communities.”

Armed police walking around The Apex in Bury St Edmunds as part of a counter terrorism program.

The Easing Lockdown Vigilance Campaign has been launched - Credit: Archant

Much of the new campaign will focus on encouraging businesses to review and update their security plans, and properly risk-assess existing sites or any new areas such as outdoor spaces opened to meet Covid-19 safety rules.

Det Supt Waldie added: "The best defence against the terrorist threat is a collective community effort – where police, security staff, businesses and the public come together to minimise the chance of attack, and that is why Counter Terrorism Policing are launching this campaign.”

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A free 45-minute online training module is available for business owners and members of the public on how to spot and report suspicious activity and behaviour. 

Register for access here

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