The Police Chiefs' Blog
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Shaun Sawyer on Modern Slavery
Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Police funding: do we have the resources we need?
Cmdr Matt Twist: Use of force data is a great step forward for for transparency
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council July 2017
Blog: CC Sara Thornton - We need to talk about wellbeing in policing
CC Dave Thompson blog: Policing funding - what do we need to tackle the threats
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council April 2017
ACC Mark Roberts blog: We all have the same aim - a safe and enjoyable World Cup
NPCC Questions and Answers on Conducted Energy Devices (aka Taser)
CC Simon Cole Blog: Uniform that's uniform! February 2017
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council January 2017
CC Stephen Kavanagh Blog: Our world has gone digital January 2017
DCC Louisa Rolfe Blog: Coercive control can affect anyone. December 2016
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council October 2016
DAC Helen Ball Blog: Reflections on 'Look Outs'. October 2016
Sara Thornton Blog: It's time for a sharing economy in policing. October 2016
CC Simon Bailey: We have to intervene earlier to stop child abuse. August 2016
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council July 2016
Mark Rowley blog: Communities defeat terrorism - 3639 times a day, 1 August 2016
CC Sara Thornton blog - Unity & respect needed, not hate crime. June 2016
Cmdr Simon Bray Blog: Legal highs? Not as legal as you thought – 26 May 2016
CC Jane Sawyers Blog: International Day Against Homophobia - 17 May 2016
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council April 2016
CC Simon Cole Blog: Prevent - 21 April 2016
Police Chiefs Blogs: International Women's Day - 8 March 2016
Police Chiefs' Blog: CC Sara Thornton - Chief Constables' Council January 2016
Sara Thornton Blog: Christmas greeting - Dec 2015
Sara Thornton Blog: Police budgets, reform & specialist capabilities - Dec 2015
Steve Kavanagh Blog: Policing the digital age - December 02 2015
Adrian Leppard: Fraud and Cyber-crime: What's being done? October 15 2015
Sexting, young people and the police: Working towards a common-sense solution
Sara Thornton Blog: Investigating burglary will always be a priority - Aug 2015
Police Chiefs' Blog: Sara Thornton, Chief Constables Council July 2015
A future for local policing - Blog by CC Simon Cole, NPCC Lead on Local Policing
Commander Chris Greany NPoCC Blog, 8 July 2015
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh: We have to think digital, 11 June 2015
CC Jane Sawyers: International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), 15 May 2015
Martin Hewitt: Building on the success of the Not Guilty campaign, 11 May 2015
Commander Chris Greany NPoCC Blog, 3 March 2015
Shaun Sawyer: Smashing the bonds of modern slavery remains a policing priority
Pat Geenty: Take care of yourself and your property this Christmas, 12 Dec 2014
Commander Chris Greany: My first eight weeks
Simon Cole: Police seek more reports of disability hate crime
Commander Chris Greany - New Head of NPoCC, 23 September 2014
Police And Communities Working Together To End FGM, 3rd July 2014
Gareth Pritchard - Changes to dangerous dogs legislation - 16 May 2014
Francis Habgood - Building trust in crime recording, 14 April 2014
Autism Society - Autism awareness can improve police practice, 2 April 2014
ACPO President on our FOI Disclosure Log publication, 21 February 2014
The Future of ACPO - A blog by our President, Sir Hugh Orde, 17 Jan 2014
Simon Bray - Understanding the impact of new psychoactive substances,17 Jan 2014
Guest Blog, Paul Burstow MP - Policing and mental health,12 December 2013
Martin Hewitt - Rape discussion provokes strong feelings, 2 December 2013
Suzette Davenport - Drink and drug drivers, 2 December 2013
Mick Creedon - Fighting serious organised crime, 18 November 2013
Andy Marsh - Firearms licence-holders are no cash cows, 1 November 2013
Simon Chesterman – Police use of Taser and training, 12 July 2013
Julian Blazeby - Police use of automatic number plate recognition, 18 June 2013
Pat Geenty - Improving the police response to missing people, 24 May 2013
Adrian Lee - Police commitment to tackling alcohol harm, 15 May 2013
Andy Trotter - Secret Justice, 30 April 2013
Garry Shewan - Stalking. Know the law, use the law, 18 April, 2013
International Women's Day - Women in Policing, 8 March 2013
A word from ACPO president, Sir Hugh Orde - 22 February 2013
A word from ACPO president, Sir Hugh Orde - 25 January 2013
Martin Hewitt - Adult Sex Offences, 17 December 2012
David Whatton - Violence against women and girls, 4 December 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 15 November 2012
Simon Cole- Policing and Dementia, 8 November 2012
Dave Thompson - Police work to tackle gun crime on our streets, 30 October 2012
Sara Thornton - Authorised Professional Practice, 22 October 2012
Alex Marshall - Drones, 9 October 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 25 September 2012
Andy Marsh - changes to firearms licensing, 18 September 2012
Simon Cole - disability hate crime, 10 September 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 14 August 2012
Ian Learmonth - The riots one year on, 7 Aug 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 20 July 2012
Alex Marshall - PCCs, 10 July 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 26 June 2012
Nigel Brook - Budget cuts, 22 June 2012
A word from ACPO President, Sir Hugh Orde - 10 May 2012
Simon Cole - Local policing and partnerships, 4 May 2012
Nigel Brook - Police Finance and Resources, 12 April 2012
Peter Fahy - Winsor Part Two, 30 March 2012
Gareth Pritchard - Policing dangerous dogs, 27 March 2012
David Whatton - Investigating rape, 8 March 2012
Dave Thompson - Renewed focus upon gangs is welcomed by the police, 8 Feb 2012
Simon Byrne outlines the benefits of ANPR technology, 7 February 2012
Simon Cole - Responding to mental ill-health and disability, 17 January 2012
Ian Dyson - The new police 101 non emergency number, 11 January 2012
Andy Adams - Custody Matters, 28 November 2011
Rob Beckley - 'Big Society' and volunteering, 17 November 2011
Simon Byrne - Policing prostitution and sexual exploitation, 2 November 2011
Tim Hollis: Policing Drugs in Austerity - Adjusting to the challenge,12 October 2011
Olivia Pinkney: Policing the exploitation of labour, 26 September 2011
Tim Hollis: Reflections on Disorder, 12 September 2011
Sir Hugh Orde: Tension between politicians and police is healthy
Sara Thornton: Providing the best leaders, 29 July 2011
Phil Gormley: Recovery of vehicles - the truth, 28 June 2011
John Feavyour: Police complaints and improving public service, 23 June 2011
Sir Norman Bettison: Prevent Review, 7 June 2011
Janet Williams: Policing cyberspace, 9 May 2011
Mark Rowley: Surrey Police, bureaucracy and the frontline, 15 April 2011
Chris Sims: Frontline Policing, 11 April 2011
Graeme Gerrard: CCTV surveillance, 3 March 2011
Garry Shewan: Stalking and harassment, 10 February 2011
Sir Hugh Orde: A new direction, 26 January 2011
Page header

DAC Helen Ball Blog: Reflections on ‘Look Outs’. October 2016

A Blog from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball as she leaves her post as Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing.

HelenBall2I was appointed to be the Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing in August 2013. This is a unique policing role, in which I have been responsible for co-ordinating the work of all UK Police Forces to help protect people from the dangers created by terrorists, violent extremists and radicalisers.

Protection is natural to me: I am the eldest of six children, four of whom are adopted and from different ethnic backgrounds. It feels as though I have looked out for and protected people all my life, and certainly this has been a major part of my policing vocation. The fact that early look outs – ‘the watch’ – grew into the police service we have today means that looking out for each other has always been at the centre of policing and explains why I have always felt at home in this extraordinary public service.

My time in role has coincided almost exactly with the rise of Daesh. As I look back over the past three years, I continue to admire the bravery and resolve of those who have been affected by Daesh’s evilness and of those who have worked to prevent the threat they pose from being realised. Whether we are the police, the security and intelligence agencies, or most importantly our strong communities, I am absolutely clear that all of us have so much more in common than we have differences, especially on the things that matter. We can, and do, look out for and protect each other.

A reflection of my time with counter terrorism policing can only start with the murderous attack plans in the UK that were prevented from becoming a terrible reality by the wonderful and brave interventions of communities, MI5, police, educators, and many others.

Let me take but a sample of these, evidenced by the convictions of the perpetrators.

Brusthon Ziamani (arrested in August 2014 and convicted in March 2015) planned to murder a member of the armed forces in a knife attack.

Tarik Hassane and Suhaib Majid (arrested in September 2014 and convicted in March 2016) planned to murder many police officers and / or members of the armed forces in a firearms attack on a police station or military base.

Nadir Syed (arrested in November 2014 and convicted in December 2015) planned to murder a person or people, probably at a Remembrance Parade, in a knife attack.

Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan (arrested in May and convicted in December 2015) planned to murder many people at a shopping centre or on the underground in a bomb attack.

Junead Khan and Shazib Khan (arrested in July 2015 and convicted in April 2016) planned to murder one or more US service-people using a car and knives outside a military base.

How many lives have been saved here in the UK because these attacks were prevented? If you count, conservatively, ten deaths for each of the firearms and bomb plots and one for each of the knife plots you reach twenty three. And these are only plots that have led to convictions, and only some of those. There are several other prevented UK plots, including some that can’t be publicly discussed; and at least one other where the plot was to murder people outside the UK.

Nobody should think, in describing these interventions, that I am ignoring or minimising the murders of hostages including two British citizens in Syria in 2014-15 or of thirty eight people including thirty British citizens in Tunisia in 2015, or the attempted murder by Mohammed Mire at Leytonstone tube station in 2015. These and other attacks have been the most significant sorrows of my time as SNC.

Other sorrows include the phenomenon of families and children deciding to travel to Syria to join Daesh, the way in which some people, especially young people and those with mental health problems, have been groomed and manipulated by radicalisers, including on line, and the increased use of propaganda and glorification of violence by terrorist groups.

I have seen propaganda used by those with extreme right wing views in a way that is intimidating and much closer to provocation, even incitement, than to free speech. And in Northern Ireland my colleagues and those they work with remain especially at risk, targeted for attack merely because of the jobs they do.

These sorrows accompany many significant joys of my time as SNC. Most of the joy comes from the clear evidence that communities want to look out for and protect each other.

Over the last two years, calls to the Anti-Terrorism Hotline (0800 789321) have been increasing year-on-year and over the last two years have risen from 10,580 to 12,450.

I was appointed to be the Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing in August 2013. This is a unique policing role, in which I have been responsible for co-ordinating the work of all UK Police Forces to help protect people from the dangers created by terrorists, violent extremists and radicalisers.

Protection is natural to me: I am the eldest of six children, four of whom are adopted and from different ethnic backgrounds. It feels as though I have looked out for and protected people all my life, and certainly this has been a major part of my policing vocation. The fact that early look outs – ‘the watch’ – grew into the police service we have today means that looking out for each other has always been at the centre of policing and explains why I have always felt at home in this extraordinary public service.

My time in role has coincided almost exactly with the rise of Daesh. As I look back over the past three years, I continue to admire the bravery and resolve of those who have been affected by Daesh’s evilness and of those who have worked to prevent the threat they pose from being realised. Whether we are the police, the security and intelligence agencies, or most importantly our strong communities, I am absolutely clear that all of us have so much more in common than we have differences, especially on the things that matter. We can, and do, look out for and protect each other.

A reflection of my time with counter terrorism policing can only start with the murderous attack plans in the UK that were prevented from becoming a terrible reality by the wonderful and brave interventions of communities, MI5, police, educators, and many others.

Let me take but a sample of these, evidenced by the convictions of the perpetrators.

Brusthon Ziamani (arrested in August 2014 and convicted in March 2015) planned to murder a member of the armed forces in a knife attack.

Tarik Hassane and Suhaib Majid (arrested in September 2014 and convicted in March 2016) planned to murder many police officers and / or members of the armed forces in a firearms attack on a police station or military base.

Nadir Syed (arrested in November 2014 and convicted in December 2015) planned to murder a person or people, probably at a Remembrance Parade, in a knife attack.

Mohammed Rehman and Sana Ahmed Khan (arrested in May and convicted in December 2015) planned to murder many people at a shopping centre or on the underground in a bomb attack.

Junead Khan and Shazib Khan (arrested in July 2015 and convicted in April 2016) planned to murder one or more US service-people using a car and knives outside a military base.

How many lives have been saved here in the UK because these attacks were prevented? If you count, conservatively, ten deaths for each of the firearms and bomb plots and one for each of the knife plots you reach twenty three. And these are only plots that have led to convictions, and only some of those. There are several other prevented UK plots, including some that can’t be publicly discussed; and at least one other where the plot was to murder people outside the UK.

Nobody should think, in describing these interventions, that I am ignoring or minimising the murders of hostages including two British citizens in Syria in 2014-15 or of thirty eight people including thirty British citizens in Tunisia in 2015, or the attempted murder by Mohammed Mire at Leytonstone tube station in 2015. These and other attacks have been the most significant sorrows of my time as SNC.

Other sorrows include the phenomenon of families and children deciding to travel to Syria to join Daesh, the way in which some people, especially young people and those with mental health problems, have been groomed and manipulated by radicalisers, including on line, and the increased use of propaganda and glorification of violence by terrorist groups.

I have seen propaganda used by those with extreme right wing views in a way that is intimidating and much closer to provocation, even incitement, than to free speech. And in Northern Ireland my colleagues and those they work with remain especially at risk, targeted for attack merely because of the jobs they do.

These sorrows accompany many significant joys of my time as SNC. Most of the joy comes from the clear evidence that communities want to look out for and protect each other.

Over the last two years, calls to the Anti-Terrorism Hotline (0800 789321) have been increasing year-on-year and over the last two years have risen from 10,580 to 12,450.

Referrals from the public highlighting online terrorist or extremist material have consistently risen, leading to the removal of deplorable material by the companies hosting it.

Referrals to Prevent from all sources have increased over the three years with over eleven thousand people referred between April 2015 and September 2016. During the same period 1,306 people benefited from support through Prevent.

In addition to these successes, I salute the women from all communities who have advised on and led community conversations under the Prevent Tragedies campaign to raise awareness of the risks that terrorists and violent extremists pose.

In 1829, Sir Robert Peel proposed the nine principles on which policing should be built – they remain the bedrock of British policing. The first principle states that “The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder”. In the policing of terrorism and violent extremism, the importance of preventing crime cannot be overstated. It’s obvious that failure here leads to precious lives being diminished or destroyed or, at worst, lost.

Peel’s seventh principle declared that “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence”. The way in which police and our partners approach the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism, and the response of communities to these threats is fully in line with this tradition.

Fortunately, we have remarkable people working round the clock to counter terrorism and violent extremism and magnificent, resilient communities who know that reporting concerns is not being a busybody or a grass or interfering; it is protective. I have been honoured to look out for people and communities as the Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing. Let us all continue to be look outs for each other.