Record number arrested in Britain over terror links
Police say the 379 people questioned in year to June is 68% increase on previous year
Police forensics officers work at London Bridge in London on June 4th, 2017, after the terror attack on the bridge and at the nearby Borough Market the previous night in which seven people were killed. Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Terror-related arrests in Britain have surged to a new record high as security services confront an unprecedented threat, new figures reveal.
There were 379 arrests for terrorism-related offences in Great Britain in the year ending June 2017, a rate of more than one a day and the highest number in a year since data collection began in 2001.
The tally includes dozens of individuals held in swoops in the wake of attacks in London and Manchester.
Arrests jumped by 68 per cent year-on-year, with the increase partly driven by activity mounted amid a flurry of terrorist incidents between March 22nd and June 19th.
The 379 total includes: 57 arrests made in connection with the Westminster (12 arrests), Manchester (23 arrests), London Bridge (21 arrests) and Finsbury Park (one arrest) attacks.
The Home Office data also reveal that 54 female terror suspects were arrested in the year to June.
At 14 per cent of the total, this was the largest proportion on record. There were increases in the number of arrests across all age groups compared with the previous year.
Seventeen of those held were aged under 18, which is the highest number for any June-July period in the current data series.
There were also rises in the number of arrests across all ethnic groups, including a particularly sharp jump of 92 per cent, from 66 to 127, in the number of white suspects detained.
It means the white ethnicity group accounted for a third (34 per cent) of all terror-related arrests over the year.
The number of individuals arrested for suspected international terrorism jumped by 60 per cent, from 184 to 294 compared with the previous year, and accounted for more than three quarters of all the arrests.
This category refers to activity linked to or motivated by any terrorist group that is based outside the UK, which operates in and from third countries, such as Islamic State.
There was also a leap in the number of arrests for “domestic” terrorism, up from 10 in the year to June 2016 to 52 in the latest period.
Domestic terrorism refers to activity where there are no links to either Northern Ireland-related or international terrorism.
The figures are not broken down further but the disclosure comes amid mounting concern over far-right extremism.
Of the 379 arrests in the 12 months to the middle of this year, 123 resulted in a charge, including 105 where suspects were charged with terror-related offences.
Around half (189) of those held were released without charge, while others were released on bail (54), faced “alternative action” (11) and two cases were pending at the time the statistics were compiled.
The latest arrest figures chime with repeated warnings that the scale of the threat from violent extremism is unprecedented.
Police and MI5 are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time, while there are also 20,000 former “subjects of interest” whose risk must be kept under review.
Since the middle of 2013, authorities have thwarted 19 plots, including six since the Westminster attack.
Britain’s security minister Ben Wallace said: “The figures released today show the tireless efforts of the police, security service and crown prosecution service during what was an unprecedented period of terrorist activity in the UK.
“Everyone has a role to play in identifying and stopping the threat terrorists pose to the UK. “This is why we are reviewing our counter-terrorism strategy to ensure the authorities have the powers they need now, and in the future, to halt terrorist activity.”