Terrorists ‘trying to track police phones’ to plot attacks, Met says

© Hannibal Hanschke
British police have been urged to disable location settings on their smartphones and be more wary of the digital footprints they leave online as terrorists could be tracking their mobiles.

New guidance published in the Metropolitan Police’s internal magazine, The Job, has warned officers to shut down Bluetooth and other applications that could reveal their location. 

It also advised officers to remove ID lanyards in public, on their way to work and during lunch breaks to avoid being identified when not in uniform.

Met Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations Mark Rowley said there is a “risk” that terrorist groups are using the internet to collate police officers’ private details.

There’s a risk that terrorist groups use the internet to find personal details about police service personnel,” he told The Job.

READ MORE: Americans fear 'getting hacked' more than murder, terrorism Gallup

We do regular security testing and while we see many people doing the right things, we usually find some people who aren’t,” he added.

Speaking to the Mirror, a security source said intelligence suggests officers are a “high-risk target.”

There are scores of fanatics who think it would be a coup to kill or maim an officer,” the source said.

These guidelines demonstrate that the onus is on personnel to do all they can to stay safe.

Social media can be an excellent tool in solving crime, but police officers and staff must do all they can not to leave a personal online footprint.

READ MORE: Police accused of using counter-terror powers to violate journalists’ human rights

We do regular security testing and while we see many people doing the right things, we usually find some people who aren’t.”

In an effort to obstruct such snooping, the guidance also advises officers to remove their name from the published version of the electoral register to make it more difficult for extremists to trace their home addresses.

In the past, police have been advised to not wear uniform on their way to work.

In 2012, off-duty soldier Lee Rigby was beheaded in broad daylight in Woolwich, south London. His killers said the murder was to avenge the death of Muslims killed by British armed forces.