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Counter Terrorism Policing statement following terror attack in New Zealand

15 Mar 2019

Police have stepped up reassurance patrols in London and across the UK as they continue to engage with communities of all faiths following the horrific attacks in New Zealand.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones, along with the emergency services personnel in New Zealand who continue to deal with this atrocity and the wider Muslim community who have been affected.

“Whilst there is no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the UK, additional uniform patrols will continue in London and nationally over the coming days, focusing on places of worship and specific communities. We are paying specific attention to Mosques particularly Friday prayers.

“Many communities will be understandably concerned and local officers will be out and about providing reassurance and protective security advice to communities, places of worship and businesses.

“Our utmost priority is keeping the public safe. Counter Terrorism Policing and security partners continue to work tirelessly to stop and disrupt attacks in the UK and to prevent people from being drawn into violent extremism.

“Police also routinely carry out daily activities to provide protection and security to the public, institutions and businesses. This activity remains under constant review to counter the threats that the UK is facing.

“The public also has a part to play – and I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to police.”

The public can report any suspicious behaviour or activity to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321, or in an emergency the public should always call 999.

In the unlikely event of being caught up in a terrorist attack, the public should run, hide, tell: Run to a place of safety. If there is nowhere to run then hide. Finally, and only when it is safe to do so, tell by calling police on 999.

Places of worship can use an online training package ‘ACT Awareness eLearning’ for advice on Protective Security and how to react should the worst happen. It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/act-awareness-elearning.

Assistant Commissioner Basu said: “It is important that all communities stand together and not allow such evil acts to divide us. 

“We are committed to tackling all forms of toxic extremist ideology which has the potential to threaten public safety and security.”

Anyone with concerns about someone becoming radicalised can get advice and support through the PREVENT programme.

Mr Basu added: “I would like to reiterate New Zealand Police’s request that people and organisations refrain from circulating footage of the attack online. Sharing terrorist propaganda serves only to cause harm and is seized upon by extremists seeking to divide communities. Furthermore dissemination of such material may result in a criminal investigation.

“We continue to work with social media providers to take down terrorist content, but it is apparent that companies need to act more quickly to remove this content from their platforms. Mainstream media companies should also consider very carefully whether it is truly in the public interest to host anything that might inspire hate crime.”

Our Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has removed more than 310,000 pieces of terrorist and extremist content since 2010, and the public play a vital role in helping us confront this threat. If you see extremist content online, please report it using  our confidential online tool at gov.uk/ACT