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Anti-terrorism drive in London


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Londoners are being urged to ring a confidential hotline.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Police in London have launched a new drive to try to thwart potential terrorist attacks in the capital.

Scotland Yard and the City of London police jointly launched a public awareness and poster campaign Monday.

The move came as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met European counterparts in Brussels to discuss anti-terrorist measures, and security experts from the five largest European nations conferred in Madrid. (Full story)

European Union ministers agreed on Friday to create an "anti-terror czar" to better coordinate European moves against terrorists, and European heads of state will meet on this issue this week (Full story)

In London, the public are being encouraged to come forward with information with a "Life Savers" advertising campaign which urges the public to call an anti-terrorist hotline, 0800 789 321.

David Veness, Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Operations, said that police in the UK had massively increased the effort and resources devoted to security operations and counter-terrorist investigations, but very much needed the public's help to reduce the danger posed by terrorists.

"We want to make London one of the most hostile environments for anyone committed to providing financial or logistical support to terrorists, or carrying out terrorist attacks themselves."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, made a particular appeal to landlords, hoteliers and car dealers.

He said that terrorists need places to live -- usually short-term lets -- and landlords and hoteliers should report any suspicions about tenants or guests.

He said that vehicles were usually used in terrorist attacks.

"Terrorists need to move around. Are you a motor trader? Have you any suspicions about the person you sold a car, or van or lorry to? Did they pay in cash and over the odds? Is the purchaser secretive about their identity?"

Clarke added that terrorist attacks usually involved a great deal of planning and members of the public should watch for anyone paying an unusual amount of attention to security measures at major institutions, shopping centers and parts of the transport network.

James Hart, Commissioner of Police for the City of London, said that workers in the financial sector could also play a significant part by reporting suspicious financial activity.

"Terrorists require money -- if we can cut off that supply we can seriously impede their activities."

The two police forces said that their two-week advertising campaign as planned before the terrorist attacks in Madrid earlier this month which killed more than 200 people.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said Sunday that the suspected al Qaeda train bombings in Spain should serve as a wake-up call.

Just days after he warned that an attack by extremists on the UK was "inevitable", Sir John said the European response to the terrorist threat had been too slow.

In an interview with BBC's "Breakfast With Frost" program, he called for a "pan-European" structure for analyzing information along the lines of Europol, the Hague-based center for handling criminal intelligence.


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