Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Police have 100 Scottish Islamic State sympathisers on their radar amid warnings Britain faces an attack
DETECTIVES are monitoring up to 100
sympathisers in Scotland amid a warning that the UK faces imminent attack.
Police said a number of Scots are among more than 500 UK residents who have travelled to Syria since the start of the bloody conflict.
Officers have uncovered evidence of terrorist fund raising here and yesterday urged the public only to donate to registered charities.
And they warned people to be on their guard with the threat of attack coming from organised groups to
The current UK threat level is “Severe” meaning an attack is imminent.
Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has urged everyone to play their part in reducing the risk of an atrocity.
He told the Record: “We have a number of investigations that have a Syrian connection and we have made interventions at different times.
“The bulk of the police work in the United Kingdom is centred on London but we have also seen the impact of the Syrian-related terrorist threat.
“It exists in Scotland and it is a challenge for us to counter that.
“If you have any concerns raise them and we will deal with them in a sensitive and proportionate manner.
“It might be the key intervention that prevents people dying.”
Livingstone was speaking at the launch of Counter Terrorism Week, which is designed to highlight themes ranging from crowded places and transport hubs.
Top tier targets in Scotland include Hampden, Celtic Park, Murrayfield, Ibrox and the SSE Hydro.
Airports and shopping centres are vulnerable, especially in the run up to Christmas.
Terrorists have also historically struck on the public transport network in cities such as Madrid and London.
Livingstone said the terror landscape has changed beyond recognition in his lifetime.
He said: “Going back to the 1970s, 80s and 90s a lot of the terrorist threat came from the unstable political situation in Northern Ireland.
“We now know international events can have an impact in Scotland.
“Whether it’s regime change in Libya or instability in Syria and Iraq, it has an impact on people who come from Scotland, people who live in Scotland and therefore Scotland itself.
“It is much more international, it is much more proximate and it feels very close. There are no longer far away lands.
“Something could happen in Syria and have an impact in half an hour on the streets of Scotland.”
Scots are also among those who have travelled to Syria
but have failed to return.
They include Aqsa Mahmood, 20 - who left Glasgow to marry an IS fighter in Syria – and Aberdeen man Abdul Rakib Amin, thought to be 26, who appeared in an Islamic State recruitment video.
There are other Scots among the 500 plus UK residents who have travelled to Syria but police would not be drawn on precise numbers.
One of the biggest challenges for law enforcement in establishing the true scale of the problem is the ease of movement with which people can now cross international borders.
Asked about the threat posed by ISIS in Scotland, Livingstone said: “We haven’t arrested anyone and no one is facing any charges.
“There are a number of investigations and that’s what is causing us concern.”
Detectives have identified up to 100 ISIS supporters in Scotland since the terror group rose to prominence.
Livingstone said: “It can be sharing videos, it can be espousing sympathetic thoughts.
“If it got to someone trying to raise funding we would look to identify that because that is an offence under the Terrorism Act.
“It can manifest itself in many ways but we need the support of the puclic to tell us that. Often a lot of these things are done in private space.
“Fundraising continues in Scotland and people should make sure it is a legitimate charity and not a front for a terrorist group.”
The senior officer admitted he finds it difficult to refer to IS by its full title.
He added: “
Islamic State do not represent the Islamic community or Muslims across Scotland
Significant police work is under way in schools and with community and faith leaders in a bid to tackle the online threat of radicalisation.
Livingstone added: “It is dangerous.
“You will get dragged into a world of individuals who can’t be trusted and will seek to exploit you. Step back from it. Speak to your family. Speak to your teachers and community leaders.
“It is extremely dangerous.
“We need everybody to support such individuals and make sure if there are any signs that they are quickly identified and they can get the support that they need.”
Scotland has hosted global events this year such as the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and MTV Music Awards without major incidents.
But Livingstone said the threat remains real.
He added: “Attacks can occur without any build up or from a highly motivated individual or group of individuals.
“We know from experience that terrorism does happen in Scotland and we can’t be complacent.”
A posting from the Twitter account of Aqsa Mahmood, a teenage student from Glasgow who has travelled to Syria to join up with ISIS. She uses the name Umm Layth online.
The senior officer also urged Record readers to play their part in combating the problem.
He said: “It is really important we don’t allow extremist ideology to circulate in Scotland.
“Everyone has a crucial role to play in keeping people safe from terrorism.”
He urged Scots not watch or share the harrowing execution videos posted online by Islamic State.
He said: “It is quite clearly outrageously distasteful.
“Part of the terrorist ideology is to make sure that people see these things and that people are intimidated by them and it serves their ends.
“Don’t fuel terrorist propaganda by sharing these horrendous videos.”
Post a Comment
Post Comments (Atom)