07:24, September 14 44 0 theguardian.com

2017-09-14 07:24:03
UK terror arrests rise 68% to record level during year of attacks

The number of people arrested for terrorism-linked offences rose 68% to a record 379 in the 12 months to June, one of the most intense periods for terrorist attacks in recent history.

The Home Office said it was the highest number of terrorist arrests in a year since records began in 2001. They included 12 arrests linked to the Westminster attack in March, 23 connected with the Manchester Arena bombing in May, 21 arrests following the London Bridge attack in June and one in relation to the Finsbury Park van attack soon after.

The Home Office quarterly bulletin on the police’s use of their counter-terrorism powers says 123 of those arrested were charged – 105 with terrorism offences – and 189 were released without charge. The rest were either bailed pending further investigation or faced alternative action.

So far, 32 of the 105 charged with terrorist offences have been prosecuted and found guilty and 68 are awaiting prosecution.

The number of terrorist prisoners in British jails has also risen in the past year, by 35% to 204. The Home Office said 91% of those in prison on 30 June held extreme Islamist views and a further 5% had far-right ideologies.

Police use of stop and search powers under the counter-terrorism laws rose by 17%, from 552 stops to 646. But the proportion of people arrested as a result of stops fell from 12% in the previous year to 8% this year.

The deputy assistant commissionerand senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, Neil Basu, said six terrorist plots had been prevented since the Westminster attack in March.

“There is no doubt that since March and following the attacks in London and Manchester we have seen a shift-change in momentum. But while the terrorist threat has increased in recent months, so has our activity, reflected by this significant increase in arrests.

“We’re taking every possible opportunity to disrupt terrorist activity – be it making arrests for terrorism offences, intervening where there are signs of radicalisation, or working with communities to prevent terrorists operating in their area,” he said.

“Police, together with the security services are determined to make the UK as hostile an environment for terrorists as possible.”

The figures show there have been 19 terrorist plots foiled in the UK by police and the UK intelligence community since June 2013. A broad spectrum of people have been arrested in connection with terrorism investigations in terms of age, gender and ethnicity.

“These figures show that there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ terrorist,” Basu said.

“We’re seeing young and old; women and men; all from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds and communities. It’s therefore important that members of the public remain vigilant in all situations, and report any suspicious activity to police.”