Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010

Anti-terrorist hotline criticised by Lancashire group

Salim Mulla, chair of Lancashire Council of Mosques
Salim Mulla, of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, says the hotline is "crazy"

A new anti-terrorist hotline has been criticised by a group which represents Lancashire mosques.

Police have started a month-long campaign to encourage people to contact them, if they have suspicions about terrorist activity.

It also aims to explain what suspicious activity could look like.

But Salim Mulla, chair of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, has branded the hotline "crazy", saying: "There is no need for this whatsoever."

He added: "We know there is an issue out there. That issue needs to be addressed.

"We have roles and responsibilities ourselves and we are fulfilling those roles and responsibilities."

Police say suspicious activity could include people who have passports and documents in multiple identities, individuals buying large amounts of chemicals for no reason and suddenly acquiring a large amount of cash with no explanation.

'People hold key'

The campaign will be heard on radio and seen on screens on the side of vans across North West England.

Det Ch Supt Tony Porter, head of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "People hold the key.

"It is important that they feel able to contact us if they have noticed anything they think is suspicious.

"We have expert officers with significant experience who can assess the information and decide on the most appropriate course of action.

"Sometimes that may be doing nothing but there are times when the piece of information given is the final piece of a jigsaw for us."

Police said the initiative was the latest phase of work to raise public awareness and was not linked to any current threat.

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