UK faces “unprecedented threat” despite decrease in terrorism-related arrests

Counter-Terrorism Policing’s senior national co-ordinator has warned the UK still faces an ‘unprecedented’ level of threat, despite arrest numbers falling in the previous 12 months. The Home Office’s quarterly release of statistics relating to the police’s use of powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 has revealed that the total number of counter-terrorism related arrests fell to 268 in the year to March 2019. That’s a fall of 40% on the previous year.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon believes this is partly due to a relatively large number of arrests in the previous reporting year in the wake of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. He said: “We are seeing the number of terrorism-related arrests gradually return to the levels we experienced before 2017’s spike in activity caused the total to dramatically increase. However, the total of 268 arrests in the year to March 2019 is still one of the largest we’ve seen since we began to record this data in 2001.”

Of the 268 arrests, 90 (34%) resulted in a charge, of which 70 were charged with terrorism-related offences. Of those 70, 32 had been convicted, with a total of 34 people still awaiting prosecution.

While the last 12 months has seen a gradual reductions in arrests and convictions, Haydon has warned that the number of investigations remains at an all-time high.

He added: “When we examine that figure of 268 arrests alongside the fact that Counter-Terrorism Policing and the UK’s intelligence services have foiled 19 attack plots since March 2017, and that we’re currently running nearly 800 live investigations, it clearly shows that the UK is still facing an unprecedented level of threat from terrorism.”

Haydon concluded: “That step-change in terrorist activity is matched by the efforts of the police and the security services to keep members of the public safe, but I would like to remind the public that their vigilance is also vital to help us in that mission.”

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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