Terrorism arrests rise by 17% in past year according to latest Government statistics

Neil Basu

Neil Basu

The number of arrests being made by counter-terrorism officers in the UK has risen by 17% in the past year. The arrest figures released by the Home Office, which cover the year up to the end of March 2018, reflect the sustained increase in pace of activity by police services across the UK’s counter-terrorism network. In the year to March, 441 arrests were made compared to 378 in the preceding year.

Assistant Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Neil Basu, head of Counter-Terrorism Policing in the UK, said: “With the terrorist attacks of 2017, we saw a genuine step-change in momentum. As a result, our operational activity increased to meet the new and emerging threats we now face. A year on and our activity continues to be at unprecedented levels. This is shown, not least, by the fact that, in the past year, working together with the Security Services, we have stopped an average of one terrorist attack every month. The police service, together with the Security Services, is determined to make the UK as hostile an environment for terrorists as possible.”

Since the Westminster attack in March 2017, there have been 12 terrorist plots foiled in the UK by the police and the UK’s intelligence community, with a further four extreme right-wing attacks also stopped in this period. At any one time, there are around 600 active counter-terrorism police investigations, involving some 3,000 people who pose the biggest threat.

In addition, the figures released by the Home Office include, for the first time, ‘disruption’ arrests involving those whom officers believe may be linked to terrorist activity, but may be arrested for other criminal matters, such as fraud, robbery or drugs offences.

Disrupting terrorist activity

The Home Office figures also show the broad spectrum of people being arrested in connection with terrorism investigations in terms of age, gender and ethnicity.

Basu added: “We’re taking every possible opportunity to disrupt terrorist activity, be it making arrests for terrorism offences or for other types of criminality with which the individuals or groups are involved. We’ve also seen for some time now that there’s no typical profile of a terrorist. The recent conviction of a young girl who, along with her mother and sister, planned terrorist attacks on the streets of London is a stark demonstration of the breadth of threat with which we’re having to deal.”

In conclusion, Basu stated: “We cannot be successful in combating terrorism unless we have the help and support of the public. With a busy summer ahead, including the World Cup as well as various other sporting and music events happening across the UK, it’s vital that members of the public remain vigilant in all situations. If they see or hear anything suspicious, they should report the matter to the police so that we can take appropriate action.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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