According to a Written Answer by the Home Office Minister Admiral Lord West of Spithead, the controversial "If you suspect it, report " terrorism propaganda campaign, involving posters and some local newspaper and local radio advertising, launched in March 2009, has cost at least £1.7 million, and the "anti-terrorist hotline" costs about £120,000 a year to run.
Spy Blog: Metropolitan Police terrorism fear Propaganda Poster lies about bombs, reconnaissance and CCTV cameras - updated 25th March 2009
This campaign includes this false and misleading poster, which claims a non existent link between public CCTV and protection against terrorist bombs:
"A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras"
In answer to a Question by Baroness Neville-Jones (Shadow Security Minister, Home Affairs; Conservative):
9 July 2009 : Column WA176
Lord West of Spithead (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office; Labour)
The confidential anti-terrorist hotline is administered by the Metropolitan Police Service. The hotline receives, on average, 243 calls per month.
In March 2009, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) launched a national media campaign to raise counterterrorism awareness. The anti-terrorist hotline received more than 1,800 calls in March 2009 and more than 1,100 in April 2009.
The anti-terrorist hotline is a 24-hour facility for members of the public to volunteer information to specially-trained police officers, in confidence, regarding any activity which they suspect to be terrorism-related.
The police service considers the anti-terrorist hotline to be a valuable means for the public to volunteer information in confidence. It is assessed that more than 80 per cent of calls received by the hotline contain information relevant to terrorist activity.
It is estimated that the anti-terrorist hotline costs approximately £120,000 to run each year.
Incredibly, this Written Answer about the "Anti-Terrorism Hotline", does not bother to mention the actual telephone number ! i.e. 0800 789 321
"on average, 243 calls per month" equates to about 2900 calls a year or about £40 per call.
The "more than 1,800 calls in March 2009 and more than 1,100 in April 2009" following the ACPO poster, local press and local radio advertising campaign, has, presumably, now tailed off to below the "on average, 243 calls per month" figure, which must include the effect of the advertising campaign stimulated peaks.
If you bother to hunt around on the Metropolitan Police Service website, there is a "If you suspect it, report it" web page which gives further details about the "Anti-Terrorist Hotline", but none of the Climate of Fear propaganda posters or adverts bother to give details of how to find this web page.
This creepy and disproportionate web page tries to throw suspicion of involvement in terrorism on anyone who uses a "Van, Passport, Mobile Phone, Camera, Chemicals, Masks and Goggles, Credit Card, Computer, Suitcase or Padlock" i.e. the vast majority of millions of innocent people !
There is now, after many years without one, a confidential online form, which does make use of the standard SSL / TLS session strong encryption, built in to your web browser software to protect the confidentiality of your e-commerce credit card etc.online transactions.
N.B. Reminder to the MPS: your Digital Certificate expires later this month on the 24th July 2009, do remember to get a new one ordered and installed before then.
However, "text messages from mobiles are not accepted", which is an utterly stupid policy. What are they worried about ? SMS text messages are no more difficult to trace than mobile phone calls.
There is also no no Web Form or Mobile Phone Multi Media Message Service facility for uploading digital images or video clips taken by members of the public on their digital cameras or mobile phone cameras of "suspicious" people, locations or objects.
It is inconceivable that in the aftermath of the next major terrorist attack in the UK, there will not be an appeal to the public to send in such digital images and video clips of "anything suspicious".
Why waste crucial time in the minutes and hours immediately after such an attack, by hurriedly setting up an untested web upload form or an SMS / MMS capable mobile phone number, and then trying to publicise it. ?
This facility should already be in place, after having been properly specified and stress tested to cope with the huge surge in demand which will follow a major incident.
Adding such a secure web form and SMS/ MMS digital image / video clip upload facility would cost only a few hundred pounds, and even allowing for several thousand pounds for extra secure, resilient infrastructure, testing and training, this will still only cost a fraction of the the £1.7 million pounds wasted on the counter productive, insulting and widely ridiculed advertising campaign.
See BoingBoing: Remixes of the paranoid London police "anti-terror"/suspect your neighbours posters.