The number of terrorists brought to justice following Counter-Terrorism Policing investigations has reached its highest level in nearly ten years. According to the latest Home Office statistics, a total of 100 individuals were brought to trial in the year ending 30 June 2018, representing an increase of 39% from the previous year. Of those, 90 were successfully convicted, marking the highest number of persons tried and highest number of successful convictions since data collection began back in 2009.
The diligence of the investigations carried out by Counter-Terrorism Policing officers, working closely with their partners in the Crown Prosecution Service, also helped to increase the number of terrorism-related offenders receiving custodial sentences longer than ten years, with life sentences being handed out in ten cases (rising from two in the previous 12 months).
Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Dean Haydon, Counter-Terrorism Policing’s senior national co-ordinator, said: “At a time when we are still seeing unprecedented levels of demand across Counter-Terrorism Policing, we’re still working tirelessly to ensure that our investigations yield positive results at court. These figures are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our officers and support staff, not just in London, but across our eleven Counter-Terrorism Units nationwide. We’re not only successfully prosecuting more people than ever before, but we’re also jailing the most dangerous offenders for longer. This is helping to keep the public safe.”
The Home Office statistics reveal that the number of terrorism-related arrests actually fell by 22% from 449 to 351 in the year ending 30 June 2018. This can largely be explained by the spike in arrests following the five terror attacks during the previous reporting year, and should not be mistaken for a reduction in the threat or police activity in the counter-terrorism sphere.
In fact, the number of active investigations being carried out by Counter-Terrorism Policing and the Security Services has reached it’s highest-ever level, with the figure currently standing at more than 650 live investigations into the most dangerous individuals.
“Demands upon Counter-Terrorism Policing have increased by about onea third since the start of 2017,” said DAC Haydon. We may have seen a reduction in the number of arrests in the last 12 months, but we should put that in context by saying that we’ve prevented 13 Islamist-related and four Extreme Right Wing plots since March 2017, so it certainly doesn’t indicate a reduction in the threat we all face from terrorism.”
DAC Haydon added: “The step-change in terrorist activity is matched only by an increased effort from the police and the Security Services. Our officers are working incredibly hard to protect the public and bring people to justice, which is evidenced by the impressive conviction rate achieved in the last year.”