LONDON: The number of terrorists brought to justice nationally following Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) investigations has reached its highest level in nearly ten years, according to the latest Home Office statistics. A total of 100 people were brought to trial in the year ending 30 June 2018, 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 in 2009.
The diligence of the investigations carried out by CTP officers, working closely with their partners in the CPS, 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 Dean Haydon, CTP’s Senior National Coordinator, said: “At a time when we are still seeing unprecedented levels of demand across CT Policing, we are still working tirelessly to ensure that our investigations yield positive results at court.
“It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our officers and support staff, not just in London but across our 11 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 – 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 CT Policing and the Security Services has reached its highest ever level, with the figure currently standing at more than 650 live investigations into the most dangerous individuals.
“Demands upon CT Policing have increased by about a 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 prevented 13 Islamist-related and four Extreme Right Wing (XRW) plots since March 2017, so it certainly doesn’t indicate a reduction in the threat we all face from terrorism.
Arrested white people
Meanwhile, Statistics released by the Home Office show an overall fall in terror arrests of 22 per cent in the year to June to 351. “The fall is partly due to a relatively large number of arrests being made following terrorist attacks in London and Manchester last year,” a report said.
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White suspects accounted for 38 per cent of terror related arrests, followed by those of Asian appearance on 37 per cent and black suspects on 9 per cent. “This was the first time, since the year ending June 2005, that the proportion of white people arrested has exceeded the proportion of Asian people arrested,” the report said.
The demographics of terrorists in prison, where Islamists make up the majority, is also changing as the number of far-right extremists jailed rises. The Home Office said: “The number of Islamist extremist prisoners saw a slight decrease for the first time, of per cent to 178 in custody.
Isis fighters in Afghanistan are communicating with UK terror cells, defence secretary Gavin Williamson says. “The proportion of prisoners holding far-right ideologies has increased steadily over the past three years, with the number up from 10 to 28 in the latest year.”
Terror arrests have risen significantly since Isis declared its so-called “state” across Syria and Iraq, causing at least 900 people to leave the UK for its territories and others remaining in the country arrested for raising money for the group, spreading its propaganda and planning to join it abroad or commit attacks.
Then in 2016, National Action became the first far-right group ever declared a terrorist organisation in the UK and waves of police raids have targeted the neo-Nazis.
Experts have warned of the threat of “reciprocal radicalisation”, where Islamists and the far-right feed off each other to drive support to their own ideologies. Since the Westminster attack in March 2017, security services have foiled 13 Islamist plots and four from the extreme right-wing, seeing numerous would-be killers jailed.