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Thirteen potential terror attacks stopped in under four years

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National awareness campaign launched today.

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Security services and the police have thwarted 13 potential terrorist attacks on the UK in less than four years, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley disclosed the figures as he launched a major appeal for the public to report any suspicions and act on their instincts, saying their help is critical to foiling atrocities.

He said since June 2013, police and intelligence agencies have disrupted 13 terrorist attack plots.

The figure is one higher than the last tally given in October.

Information from members of the public has contributed to stopping some of those attacks, while figures show it has assisted counter-terrorism police in a third of the most high-risk investigations.

AC Rowley said: “It is very encouraging that in a third of cases involving our most serious terrorist suspects we have benefited from information from the public.

“The number of calls and online reports we receive is increasing. This is testament to people’s trust in the police - but now we are appealing for even more.

“Counter terrorism policing is working hard to keep the public safe. Together, the UK intelligence community [MI5, SIS, GCHQ] and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 2013.

“However, advances in technology make it more complex and challenging for us to spot would-be terrorists because it's easier for them to be in contact with others and be radicalised in a relatively short space of time.

“The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone remains vigilant and acts by calling us confidentially if they are concerned about suspicious activity.”

Investigators have been making arrests at a rate of close to one a day on average since 2014.

The official threat level for international  terrorism  has stood at severe - meaning an attack is "highly likely" - for more than two years.

In the year to March, the anti-terrorist hotline received more than twice the number of calls on the previous 12 months, with 22,000 people making contact.

AC Rowley added: "Even though the public are doing a great job, we want more help."

The public awareness campaign has been named Action Counters Terrorism, or ACT.

A poll of more than 2,000 adults found that most respondents believed it was important for communities to work with police to defeat terrorism.

However, a quarter of those surveyed said they might not report their suspicions because of fears over wasting police time and almost two in five were unsure about what suspicious behaviour might look like.

Security minister Ben Wallace welcomed the campaign, saying: "Our police and security and intelligence agencies work tirelessly, often unseen, day in and day out to keep families and communities across the country safe. The public also have a vital role to play as they are ideally placed to notice activity which is unusual.

“I welcome the police’s ACT campaign which raises awareness about what to look out for and provides people with easy-to-access advice."

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