Terrorism tip-offs up 600% after UK attacks

Counter-terror agencies have registered a dramatic surge in tip-offs after Britain was hit by an unprecedented wave of attacks, new figures reveal.

An armed policeman on patrol in London.

Calls to a dedicated police hotline rocketed by more than 600 per cent in just six months as thousands of potential leads poured in.

Statistics indicate the flurry of incidents this year, in which dozens of victims were killed or injured, prompted a spike in the volume of information passed to authorities by members of the public.

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

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.

The number of calls to the hotline rose to 2,449 in March, the month of the Westminster outrage, 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 a sharp rise in contacts with the facility in the last two years.

It 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.

Hannah Stuart, co-head of the security and extremism unit at think tank Policy Exchange, said it was not surprising that rises in the number of calls correspond to recent terrorist attacks.

She added: “Community-based intelligence is vital in tackling terrorism and in some cases has successfully prevented imminent attacks. Unprecedented numbers of individuals of concern to the security services in the UK right now means the task of identifying serious leads is a real challenge.

“In light of the recent attacks, risk assessment procedures are currently under review - and this will no doubt include the handling of calls to the anti-terrorism hotline to make sure that information reaches the right people when necessary.”