Suspicious vs. Odd
While we may see a number of strange situations throughout our daily lives, the key is to identify what is suspicious and what is odd.
For example, a tramp sitting on a bench in a busy train station may seem odd but it is not suspicious. This is because their behaviour does not correlate with a possible AMO. They may be taking shelter from the cold weather or even too drunk to move.
On the other hand, a well dressed man walking into a train station, sitting down, watching the passengers, the staff and then walking out without taking a train can be seen as suspicious.
This is because their behaviour correlates with a possible AMO; surveillance.
Threat & Suspicion
Threat can be defined as “Suspicion that was not refuted”.
Say you are in a busy airport and discover an unattended bag. This situation is seen as suspicious as the bag could contain a bomb.
The only way to identify whether the bag is actually a threat is by asking whether anyone owns the bag.
If there is no answer, the suspicion cannot be refuted and therefore the bag becomes a threat. Your only option now is to evacuate the area and bring in the bomb squad.
Reasonable suspicion cannot be identified from gut feeling. You must be able to articulate the facts and how they connect to known criminal and terrorist methods.
An example of Reasonable Suspicion could be a man waiting in a car near a store. The man does not use the phone, get out of his car or act in any way that would seem normal to the situation.
If we look at this situation and try to match it with a possible AMO, it becomes clear that this man may be carrying out Surveillance or is a Getaway driver for a robbery. We therefore have reasonable suspicion to ask the man questions or call for back up.