Police battling the threat of terrorism have unveiled a new tactic – they are targeting internet cafes.
As evidence suggests that several people convicted with terrorism acts have visited internet cafes while plotting their crimes, the Metropolitan Police are trialling a new initiative in which owners agree to monitor what customers are looking at, and report any suspect activity to police.
The visit by two policeman and a community support officer is unannounced – but this is not a raid.
Instead they are here at an internet cafe in Camden in London as part of a new programme in the government’s £140m Prevent strategy to help counterterrorism.
The new initiative involves getting internet cafe owners to monitor the websites their customers view and to pass on any worries over suspicious activity to the police.
Steven Staples owns one of the internet cafes in Camden that the Prevent officers visit and he is given posters to put up warning the public of material which is deemed unacceptable to view.
He is also given the choice of which coloured background he would like for a Metropolitan Police screensaver to upload on to his machines to spell out the same message.