The UK’s head of counter-terrorism has appealed to the public to help identify people who have travelled to Syria or are showing signs of being radicalised.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley made his appeal after the murder of US journalist James Foley in Syria.
“Significant progress” has been made towards identifying an Islamic State militant with an English accent seen in a video of the killing, said AC Rowley.
Counter-terrorism arrests are running at five times last year’s levels.
This is because of the threat posed by would-be jihadists travelling to and from Syria, said AC Rowley of the Metropolitan Police, the National Policing Lead for Counter Terrorism.
He also described the growth in numbers of dangerous individuals as challenging, as nearly half of those going to Syria were not previously known as being potential terrorists.
London and the West Midlands have seen the biggest growth in Syria-related investigations.
Ten people a month are being stopped from travelling out to Syria or Iraq by being referred to the government’s anti-terrorism Prevent programme, which targets individuals who are at risk of being radicalised.
AC Mark Rowley said the public’s help was needed to fight terrorism
AC Rowley said: “We are appealing to the public, family members and friends to help identify aspiring terrorists.
“They may be about to travel abroad, have just returned or be showing signs of becoming radicalised.”
He asked for people to watch out for any suspicious change in behaviour, such as selling their possessions or raising money to travel abroad.
AC Rowley said progress was being made in the investigation to find the man seen in the video that showed the moments before and after the apparent beheading of 40-year-old Mr Foley, but would not go into further details.
He said: “Every reasonable person in the country has been touched by the pitiless murder of James Foley at the hands of Islamic State terrorists, and the murderer’s apparent British nationality has focused attention on extremism in the UK as well as the Middle East.”
Click here to read more.