Feeds

Police told terror ads too terrifying offensive

Scared now? What about now?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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 his house is on a bus route".

The Metropolitan Police Service responded to the Advertising Standards Authority on behalf of ACPO. It claimed the behaviours described in the advert were "based on trends identified by police and had been amongst evidence given in court at recent terrorism trials".

The ASA noted that the behaviour described could also apply to the behaviour of a number of law-abiding citizens and that listeners who identified with such behaviour could be offended by the suggestion that their behaviour was suspicious.

10 people complained to the ASA that the ad was encouraging people to report law-abiding citizens and said it was offensive. 16 believed the ad could encourage people to harass or victimise their neighbours and nine complained it made an undue appeal to fear.

The ASA asked ACPO not to repeat the advert in its present form.

The ad in full:

The following message is brought to you by TalkSPORT and the Anti-Terrorist Hotline. The man at the end of the street doesn't talk to his neighbours much, because he likes to keep himself to himself. He pays with cash because he doesn't have a bank card, and he keeps his curtains closed because his house is on a bus route. This may mean nothing, but together it could all add up to you having suspicions. We all have a role to play in combating terrorism. If you see anything suspicious, call the confidential, Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 XXXXXX. If you suspect it, report it.

The full adjudication can be read here. ®

*Update: Acpo got in touch to point out, quite correctly, that the ASA ruled the ad was found likely to cause serious offense, but did not "make an undue appeal to fear". Headline adjusted accordingly.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.