How to spot terrorist surveillance.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most successful terrorist operations begin with extensive planning. The plans for the 9/11 attacks started at least three years before the actual hijackings. The 7/7 bombers carried out dummy runs to London prior to the actual attack. An essential element of the planning process is the gathering of detailed reconnaissance and intelligence about a target: its defences, vulnerabilities, and patterns of daily activity. This phase of a terrorist operation is usually referred to as either pre-operational surveillance or as hostile reconnaissance. The aim is to gather all the information possible concerning a particular target so that the data can help create a precise plan of action which will increase the terrorists’ likelihood for success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-29
Number of pages2
JournalPolice Review
Issue number5973
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • terrorism
  • political violence
  • terrorist target selection
  • terrorist decision-making
  • Terrorist attacks
  • hostile reconnaissance
  • surveillance

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