back to article Police told terror ads too terrifying offensive

The Association of Chief Police Officers has been told not to re-broadcast an anti-terror advert it ran on TalkSPORT radio. The advert urged people to call the "Anti-Terrorist Hotline" to report suspicious behaviour such as anyone paying with cash "because he doesn't have a bank card", or keeping his curtains closed "because …


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  1. Adam Salisbury
    Thumb Down

    "and he keeps his curtains closed because"

    Well that's the entire population of night shift workers and those who live with them branded as terror suspects eh?

    Nice going Plod

  2. Eden

    OMG I'm a terrorist!!

    My flat overlooks a busy main street/road and has large windows so naturally we keep the blinds down most of the time as I get tired of drunk idiots from the pub next door trying to talk to us or having to sneak past my own windows when I get out the bathroom or bed in less than full attire.

    As my wifes company has folded I'm also pertty permenantly overdrawn so simply draw all my cash needs out each pay day as my card inevitably gets locked quickly as our bills go out of just my wage putting me overdrawn and I need cash for petrol and food.

    That makes me a terrorist apparently!


  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mycho Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Me too

      Well, I keep my curtains closed because screen glare hurts my eyes.

      Fuck you, coppers, no wonder nobody likes you anymore.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I used to live

        next to a bus stop, and i kept my curtains closed! There's nothing like sitting on the sofa, watching tv, and having a bus full of people staring in your window at you for a minute or so, while they wait for it to set off again.

    2. Bill Fresher

      Fit the bill

      Well you certainly sound a little angry about your unfortunate situation... which is probably what starts a lot of people off on the path of terror, init.

  4. Eden

    Anything to do with the return of detections

    With the police "Detections" returning I'm wondering if this is related.

    Close my curtains/blinds so people walking down the high street can't see into my bedroom, and I'm a terrorist.

    Leave them open and if I dare to get out of bed naked or have sex then as the public can see into my bedroom from the main road I'm guilty of multiple other offences...nice!, that will look great on plods detection sheet.

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Well, that's every teenager on the list

    doesn't talk to anyone, keeps their curtains closed, doesn't have a bank account.

    Just pull the wagon up outside the local school and herd 'em in. the world won'tbe any safer - but at least the amount of shoplifting will go down

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Ye gods

    common sense has surfaced, if only a little.

  7. Z 1
    Big Brother


    "Be a government informer. Report your family and friends. Fabulous prizes to be won!"

    I was wandering through the underground the other day and did a double take at one of the tubes information posters on CCTV. It said "We are watching out for you" and just as I looked, someone walked passed and their arm managed to obscure it partially for a second, enough for it to read "We are watching you". Sent a shiver down my spine.

  8. serviceWithASmile
    Thumb Down


    all that is needed is a reward for ratting on your neighbours and we are repeating past mistakes, comrades.

  9. xj25vm

    Well done terrorists - you done it after all

    It looks like the terrorists have achieved their goals after all. Turning our society in a bunch of fear mongering, suspicious, out of our minds lunatics who have willingly sacrificed their freedom, quality of life, humanity - because we are obsessed with absolute, abject fear.

    So, according to this radio advert, every loner, slightly missfit, miss-adjusted, everybody who is a little bit weird, a little bit unusual, a bit non-conformist, uncommon in any way - will end up being the target and victim of our 'safety-for-all' antiterrorism effort. All we have to do is just keep our heads down and act like a flock of sheep - making sure we don't do anything different then the next guy - and the next after, and the next million. I was brought up in a communist regime - and this all starts to look pretty much the same. We were told the same things by the internal 'security' police about keeping an eye on our neighbours for the sake of the 'mother country'. My goodness, it really looks like one of those scary futuristic films. When the hell did people stop having any balls and started caring so little about their freedom and their soul?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Z 1

      "Be a government informer. Report your family and friends. Fabulous prizes to be won!"

      One of Red Dwarf's finest episodes.

      Not nearly so funny when you still seem to be living through it.*

      Mine will be the one with the DVD's to "1990". One of Edward Woodward's least know jobs. another one you felt ACPO and NuLabor felt would make a good training manual.

      1. TimNevins


        AFAIK this was only broadcast once on TV.

        I wasnt aware it was on DVD. Is this a new development?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Not Good Enough

      This ad ran some serious shivers down my spine. It is a near-perfect replica of some of the posters and radio announcements from the age of Joseph Vissarionovich. It stirred some "genetic memory" from the days when 90% of my extended family on my mom's side got their marching orders down that corridor in the basement that finishes with that famous wall painted in institutional green.

      Banning this ad is not enough.

      It should be unbanned and run repeatedly in parallel with the Stalin ones so people really get a sense of perspective on what is a democracy and what is a country run by a deluded offspring of a church official (any likelihood is probably purely coincidental).

    3. Stacy

      Another dwarfer!!!

      I couldn't help but think about that as well...

      I just can't believe that someone would even think that was a good thing to send out!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Good Enough

        "...and what is a country run by a deluded offspring of a church official..."

        Er, you do realise that Brown's not PM anymore?

        Also, since Stalin's regime heavily persecuted the church your comparison there may be open to some criticism...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          I do realise that Brown is not a PM anymore

          That is exactly my point.

          We are apparently having an attempt to return back to democracy (let's see if it lasts). It will be good if the coppers are reminded about it properly not just through a symbolic slap on the wrist.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            "Symbolic slap on the wrist"

            Why symbolic? The pold in your country want to bring back witch hunts? Bring back the stocks and pillory just for them. Remember that the police can only execute their duties because the citizens of your country consent to being policed. Maybe you should take a lesson from the French and get out in the streets once and a while.

            The only way that idiots like this ever learn is to prove to them that despite all their efforts, all the money, sweat and risk they have taken to make everyone terrified all the time…

            …you aren’t afraid at all.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Government Informer?

      iN this case it's not the government, it's ACPO. Seems that our new government aren't caving in to every request from the police. Maybe they've realised Gordon's planned police state is a bad idea, or maybe it's just something they're doing to save money (I'm with the latter) either way the end result is a good thing.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Not quite,

      as you have to add the unspoken "and is slightly coloured" to get to terrorist. If you are a white loner or misfit then you must be a paedo....

    6. Goat Jam


      "When the hell did people stop having any balls and started caring so little about their freedom and their soul?"

      I could tell you the answer succinctly but it is pretty high on the politically incorrect scale.

      Suffice to say that when you have a particular demographic group who has a natural predilection to seek out safety over all other concerns attaining political superiority within society combined with the opposite demographic who have a natural predilection to offer (the appearance) of safety to the safety seeking demographic while at the same time wanting to incapacitate or destroy all the non alpha members of their own demographic group in then you end up with a situation such as this.

      The alpha members of the protecting group end up doing whatever it takes to engender fear in the protection seeking group in order to attain power over the non alpha portions (majority) of their own group.

      Eventually it is their arrogance that leads to their downfall. Ultimately they will go far enough down that road that they begin to believe they have subdued the non-alphas to the point that they are no longer a credible threat and they have the enforcement structures sufficiently in place to contain whatever resistance they do manage to mount.

      At this point they decide that they no longer need to actively manipulate political support from the safety seekers at which point the safety seekers who enabled the entire totalitarian mess in the first place finally get a taste of what they have wrought.

      Time passes until ultimately the whole thing collapses, usually due to economic failure.

      Rinse lather repeat. The human race seems incapable of learning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Nicely put!

        That is all!

        Apart from the fact that it should be tattooed on the faces of Labour politicians who will then have a lifetime of other people reading it back to them.

        Will it change their fascist/PR/short-termism mentalities, probably not. Hopefully they'll be out of power for several generations now and, again hopefully, we'll have more of a common-sense approach and gradually get back some of the freedoms they were so quick to take away, and their acolytes who at the head of every 'Public' organization like ACPO will gradually be replaced.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahh so

    The business that trades under the name ACPO wants to frighten the general public into asking for more police, particularly expensive senior policemen looking at terrorism. Is this suspicious behavior of a business association that wants to expand? or is it dedicated policemen working for a safer country, or is it proof of a slide into a police state where being odd or different is to be communicated to the police, I guess the STASI is a bit of a pinup for ACPO..

    Write to your MP asking why so much public money is given to the private business that is ACPO.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    A terrorist or....

    Somebody who is growing dope?.

    Pays in cash - Yes

    Doesn't talk to anybody - Yes

    Keep the curtains closed - Yes

    Sounds just like the average urban dope farm to me.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Betray your family and friends!

    Fabulous prizes to be won!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Except for:

      1) Urban dope farms exist and are relatively common.

      2) These can be found by police helicopters using infrared cameras, and good old-fashioned detective work.

      3) As such, they represent real, hard, unglamorous, potentially dangerous work (think booby-traps) for plod. For which paper work has to be done.

    2. The Indomitable Gall


      Other demographics fit this profile. The one that springs to mind is illegal immigrants. Didn't they want us to grass them up a wee while ago? It wasn't popular. Another one is benefit cheats and tax dodgers. Didn't they want us to grass them up a wee while ago? That wasn't popular either. I'm sure lots of other criminals are the same.

      There was a second advert that mentions a guy who's looking for a new house using Google Maps/Earth, has three lockups full of "his mother's stuff" and bought a flight with cash. Sounds a lot more like a housebreaker and/or fence to me.

      So are they just using anti-terror as a way to catch people involved in standard domestic crime?

      Would the police do such a thing? No, it's not like they've used anti-terror stop-and-search to catch domestic criminals or anything that bad....

    3. Stu

      Oh don't worry about weed-growers

      The plod are using their night-vision goggles to look out for houses with unusually high heat signatures coming from the loft. Another surveilance nightmare for the rest of us.

      Infra-Red Night vision can't see thru glass as it goes, otherwise I'd think the plod are recording predator-vision style porn as they fly around the city gazing into everybodys bedrooms at night.

      I wouldn't put something like this past todays 'vigilant' coppers - no better than the drooling security guards who sit watching changing room video footage at department stores.

      1. TimeMaster T

        "Night vision" vs. Thermal Imaging

        Unless the tech has changed drastically in the last few years normal "Night Vision" or "Light amplification" equipment like goggles and scopes cant see beyond the IR wavelengths that are very close to visible light. You can see "near IR" sources like IR lasers and LEDs but not longer wavelength heat signatures like in Predator.

        For that kind of imaging you need to use a different rig altogether. The "Thermal Imaging" cameras are the ones that they use to find heat anomalies on buildings, like those caused by grow lights left on 24/7. Both types see in infra-red/heat but the wavelengths and hardware are very different.

  13. Atonnis

    Erm....that's scary...

    I don't talk to my neighbours much, since who does nowadays - especially since I'm a single white male living alone...I try to pay with cash as much as I can because I can track my money far more easily by getting out cash and limiting my expenditure...and I have my blinds down all the time because the bunch of annoying teens who pass my house and stare in my window regularly drives me absolutely nuts.

    So according to this advert I'm suspicious and should be reported...because I'm a single guy who likes to track his expenditure and doesn't like being gawped at in his own home I should have my life put under scrutiny, my reputation ruined and possibly lose my job because people would never trust me again?

    I'm glad it's been banned...hopefully the w*nkers who made this advert will have their own lives scrutinsed first.

  14. AlistairJ
    Big Brother

    The irony

    All of this oppressive policing is coming to you from the generation who grew up in one of the most liberal regimes in human history.

    The future is black, comrades.

  15. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Two out of three ain't bad

    I don't talk to people much because that's the way I am. Sorry. Just not very sociable.

    I keep the curtains drawn at the front upstairs to keep the rooms cool, and blinds mostly drawn downstairs because I value my privacy and/or the sun makes it hard to watch TV.

    I suppose the saving grace is that I'm the exact opposite when it comes to spending. I hardly ever use cash and frequently have nothing in my wallet except plastic.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Two out of three ain't bad

      I really think that that stick-on window frosting stuff is the way forward. Looks a lot nice than manky net curtains and you can get it with holes in so you can still peer out.

      Er, but anyway.

      1. Pawel 1

        Even better idea

        Here's what people in continental Europe used for a long time:

        You cannot see anything from the outside through it (well, unless you're standing with your nose against the glass) but it doesn't block any light entering in. Apart from these, they also have normal curtains as well for the evening (as then, when the inside is brighter than the outside, the inside is perfectly visible).

        I've got no idea why these never got popular in Britain - especially after learning that they are fairly popular in France.

        1. Semaj


          They exist here but are seen as old fashioned these days in favour of blinds.

          We call them "net curtains".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sticky window frosting

        Just the thing for the discerning terrorist. Now with selected classic texts to liven up the neighbourhood!

  16. Lionel Baden

    OH FFS

    I keep my curtains closed as much as possible

    A: i dont want people to see my computer on the way home from the pub and think fuck it ill have that., Plus i hate the light behond me cant see anything on my screen

    B: Kids running round naked.

    C: ill let the missus explain the third reason !!!

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I must then be a Terrorist

    I have curtains closed all day, and profer paying for thing in shops with cash. And to Jo Blogs on the street it dosn't seam that I have bank account.

    Now I have curtains close because the sun shines all day on computer monitor and also makes it imposiable to talk with clients using a Webcam as the sun glares in to it. Programing all day log with sun shining on screen isn't that easy, so shut curtains and to lazy to open then after 6 hours.

    I think in job description of Police:

    1) Are thick as two planks, good your hired.

  18. Lionel Baden

    Hang on .....

    I get it ...

    This doesnt apply to us .....

    It must be only if you have a beard and turban !!!!!!!

    makes much more sense now .....

  19. live2give

    I live next door to that that guy! could it be that 1).. .2)...

    1) He is a POSSIBLE terrorist, in which case boy do I feel stupid for not noticing before I read the ADVERT.

    2) Hes not and...

    -He lives on his own as his mother died and never married or had a girlfriend.

    -Pays by cash as he is 50 odd years old and has always paid for items in cash(hes doesnt have a pc or the need for modern fangled tech).

    -He closes the curtains because he doesn't want filthy netted curtains or the scum that roam the streets peering into his house whilst he's at church.

    Brings neghbourhood watch(list) to a whole new level.

    1. neb

      @Anonymous Coward

      you are a manfrommars and i claim my finders fee whilst you are sent for re-education in a friendly work farm in the falklands

  20. Anonymous John


    Coat please. I might as well hand myself in before the police come knocking.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Happened to me

    I used to live up North. Lost my job but lived in a 3 bed house. Neighbors never saw me (went out early looking for a job, stayed late at the library).

    Turned out later they thought I was the Provo's quartermaster, busily burying gear for their (presumed) impending Leeds campaign.

    Had my Mother not turned up and been her usual self it was only a matter of time before my back door disappeared one night and I would then spend the next 28 days explaining where I'd stashed the guns, ammo and semtex.

    Not having guns, ammo or semtex in the first place this would have been difficult.

    Welcome to the state of fear.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Happened to me

      Alright, alright, let's calm down for a second and remember that

      a) This sort of advice has been chucked around before and society hasn't crumbled

      b) The point of the story is that this sort of advice has been found to be a bit off, like, so there is no suggestion it is being adopted as a social norm - in fact there is considerable resistance to it

      c) Most people remain happily oblivious to the habits of those around them and the only people likely to get paranoid and squeal on their innocent neighbours thinking it's their civic duty are the kind who would probably have effed with your ess before, because they're nosey idiots.

      This campaign is not going to make us into a nation of nosey idiots. If anything it's only going to make us into a nation of Orwell-misquoting hysterics.

      I'm as concerned as anyone about our rights and freedoms (and know a bit about all this having written about it) but I also have a bit more faith in things not actually being that drastically bad, and people not being mindless gullible fear-driven douchebags who keep diaries of their neighbours' every curtain-twitch. Have a little more faith in society - it's a lot bigger than politics, and is still composed mostly of perfectly decent and rational individuals. It's alright, you know. Be vigilant, keep tabs on this sort of crap, yes, but don't run out into the street (or in this instance, this thread) screaming and waving your arms around.

      Actually, if you feel you would like to run out into the street screaming and waving your arms around about this, you should go with that impulse, because I would like some peace and quiet and time to contemplate how lucky I still am and will continue to be and how most of the rest of the world would probably walk over broken glass to be in my position.

      K? K.

      1. Mike Smith
        Big Brother

        Orwell-misquoting hysterics

        Good points Sarah, all of them, but there is still the fact that a body of very senior policemen saw fit to release this Stalinist piece of scaremongering crap. Put simply, they should have had more bloody sense in the first place. And if it turns out they knew full well what they were doing, what does that say about the mentalities of the UK's senior law enforcement people?

        Just my 0.02.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Orwell-misquoting hysterics

          Yeah, they should, but these things have a great way of correcting themselves, as we're seeing.

          I'm really not suggesting there's nothing to worry about here, just that there isn't that much to be consumed with worry about. Why be consumed with worry if you don't need to be?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Don't be consumed with worry,

            be happy?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            The real problem, as I see it anyway, is that the police even comes up with spectacularly bad ideas like this. That is, there's apparently a state of fear stuck in their minds complete with a strong compulsion to infect the rest of the population too. That's not what the police force is for, dear police force, or at least not as principally envisioned.

            But you do have a point that running around flapping arms and havin' a good froth at the mouth isn't exactly productive. So, everyone, cool down, close the curtains, and write a nice friendly polite letter to your MP asking them to step up pressure to launch the long-overdue police functioning and anti-terrorist measures effectiveness reviews.

          3. thenim

            while I tend to agree generally...

            I have to say that an "individual" may be rational and sensible (except the folk who form their opinions based on the crap in the daily wail), unfortunately as a collective, "people" are pretty stupid and gullible...

            So yes, there are a sensible few, like the ones piping up here in rage, but it only takes a stupid few to get something like this out of control... (case in point: this particular campaign made it through to a public broadcast!)

            There are are so many parallels going back in history, it's scary... And what's more scary is that these senior nitwits who approved this campaign, should have been in the "sensible majority" - but clearly weren't, and more importantly, clearly not aware of history!

            So, I say, what we need to do send the fucking idiots responsible for this cockup (and any future ones) on a GCSE course in History!


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