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  1. ITV Report

Terror tip-off hotline calls surge by 600% after attacks

Credit: PA

Calls to a dedicated terror tip-off hotline have surged by more than 600% in the past six months following an unprecedented wave of attacks in Britain, new figures show.

Reports peaked in June, when the London Bridge and Finsbury Park attacks took place, with the service receiving 5,703 calls.

This compared to 748 in January and 764 in February, and a monthly average over the year to June of around 1,800.

People can contact the hotline to pass on suspicions about possible terrorist activity.

According to statistics obtained by the Press Association, the number of calls to the hotline rose to 2,449 in March, the month of the Westminster attack, before dipping to 1,412 in April and then increasing to 4,191 in May, when the Manchester bombing occurred.

Figures disclosed by the National Police Chiefs' Council following a Freedom of Information request show the hotline received 22,729 calls in the year to the end of June 2016 - almost double the tally of 11,892 in the previous 12 months. The service took 21,596 calls from July 2016 to June 2017.

Police welcomed the rise in calls, with Detective Chief Superintendent Clarke Jarrett, of the Metropolitan Police, saying: "We need the public's assistance to help keep us all safe from terrorism so it really is encouraging that more calls are being made to the confidential hotline.

"Every report we receive about suspicious activity is potentially crucial information that could help keep communities safer."

Credit: PA
  • What is the hotline?

It is a service people can call to confidentially report anything suspicious that could be related to terrorist activity.

The hotline is staffed around the clock by specially-trained personnel and all information is assessed and analysed before a decision is made on what action, if any, is taken.

  • What kind of information might be reported?

Police say suspicious activity could cover anything that seems out of place or unusual

  • What is the number?

The hotline can be contacted on 0800 789 321.

  • Is it the only way to pass on information?

No, suspicious activity can also be reported online by completing a secure form at www.gov.uk/act

Credit: PA

Officers say information from members of the public has contributed to stopping attacks and assisted in a third of the most high-risk investigations.

Earlier this year it emerged Khuram Butt, 27, the ringleader of the London Bridge terror gang, had been reported to the hotline and investigated in 2015, but officers found no evidence of attack planning.

Security chiefs have emphasised the importance of input from communities as police and MI5 confront the unprecedented threat.

Counter-terror agencies are running 500 live investigations involving around 3,000 individuals at any time, while there are also 20,000 former "subjects of interest" who have to be kept under review.

Since the middle of 2013, authorities have thwarted 19 plots - including six since the Westminster attack.