A special Column for community and Police issues.
IF YOU SUSPECT IT, REPORT IT - MET LAUNCHES NEW COUNTER-TERRORISM CAMPAIGN
TRUST your instincts: it could disrupt terrorist planning and save lives - that's the call to Londoners today (5th March) as the Met launches its new counter-terrorism ad campaign.
Unusual activity or behaviour which seems out of place may be terrorist-related, and everyone who works, lives or visits the Capital is being urged to pass on any information to the confidential Anti- Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
The five-week long campaign sends out a clear message: 'Terrorism. If you suspect it, report it.'
Terrorists won't succeed if suspicious activity is reported by members of the public, and that somebody could be you.
DAC Peter Clarke, head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command and National Co-ordinator of Terrorist Investigations, urged anybody with concerns about suspicious behaviour to report them to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline.
"We want people to look out for the unusual - some activity or behaviour which strikes them as not quite right and out of place in their normal day to day lives. "Terrorists live within our communities, making their plans whilst doing everything they can to blend in, and trying not to raise suspicions about their activities.
"I would ask people to think about unusual behaviour they have witnessed, or things they have seen which seem to have no logical or obvious explanation.
"I totally understand and appreciate concerns or reservations some people may have about contacting the police - either because their friends or family may find out, or their suspicions may prove to have innocent explanations.
"But let me reassure everyone. All information to the hotline is treated in the strictest of confidence and is thoroughly analysed and researched before, and if, any police action is taken.
"Terrorists have a lot of work to do before they attack. They need money and may commit cheque, credit card and identity fraud to finance their activities.
"They also need transport to move around in and they may raise questions over where they are going by being vague about their movements. "We are asking members of the public to trust their instincts and call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline to pass on information which could help stop terrorists in their tracks."
Mr Clarke said that although the threat of attack remained real, the campaign had not been launched in response to any specific threat.
The five-week campaign asks members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour in confidence to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
Press advertising will appear in London's major newspapers and on the City's main commercial radio stations.
The press ads seek to raise awareness of a range of items which may be needed by, or be of use to, terrorists and asks the public to consider whether they have seen any activity connected with them which may have made them suspicious. Radio advertising has been devised to complement the press ads and features an individual thinking out loud about concerns she has around some suspicious behaviour. She is reassured that she should call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 and that any information will be considered by specialist officers.
Student loan fraud scam Busted
Following a year-long investigation, by the Met's Public Sector Fraud Squad into an extensive student loan fraud scam, two people have today [2.3.07] been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to a total of 5 yrs and 6 months. In August 2004, 850 birth certificates were stolen from Erewash Register Office, Derbyshire.
To date in excess of 180 of these stolen birth certificates have been used to create identities to obtain student loans. Enquiries by the Public Sector Fraud investigation unit have revealed that a small number have been used to obtain British passports and driving licences.
Student loan applications have been made to various authorities throughout the UK. On examination of the various applications there are address connections between some of them submitted to the various authorities. There is also duplication on the address / mobile numbers used on the various forms. Arrests were made following searches on various addresses in the Thamesmead area. The names being used to obtain the various student loans are in the main Western forenames and African surnames or visa versa.
[O] Adeleke Adebayo, unemployed, of 141 Millard Terrace, Dagenham today received a total of 4 years
[P] Adeola Aina, Housing benefit supervisor, of 141 Millard Terrace, Dagenham (girlfriend of Adebayo) received a total of 18 months.
[K] Babatunda Smith (also known as Samuel Udoh) was charged with possession of a false Nigerian passport, and obtaining a driving license by deception, was sentenced to 9 months imprisonment to run concurrently on each charge.
[Q] Sorie Koroma from The Shaftsburys, Barking Essex, was arrested on 15 Dec 2006 and was charged with obtaining money transfers by deception in relation to student loans obtaining false names. He is remanded in custody and is next due to appear on 9.3.07
[H] Hanna SUTTON was charged in 2006 with possession of false Nigerian passport - she is remanded on bail.
The following [C/D/G] have already been sentenced in relation to these offences:
[C] Tiomi Phiri MANASE (female) arrested on 2.9.06 under the name of Paula Curtis - then charged with money laundering and 3 counts of using false South African passport to obtain bank accounts.She was sentenced to18 months.
[D] Pauline OSOFODUNRIN was charged with possession of false Nigerian passport and obtaining a British driving license by deception - She was sentenced on 31.8.06 to a total of 15 mths imprisonment.
[G] Victoria JAMES [12.4.84 - 22 ys] was charged with possession of false Nigerian passport and appeared at Bow Street MC on 6.4.6 and was remanded in custody. She pleaded guilty on 19.7.06 and was sentenced on 2.8.06 to 6 months imprisonment.
[B] Victor UDOH [12.4.84 - 22 ys] was charged with possession of false driving license and appeared at Bow St MC on 6.4.06 and was bailed by the court. He failed to appear and there is a warrant out for his arrest.