One terror suspect is being arrested every single day as the security services tackle an unprecedented threat from extremists.
New figures showed the number held by counter-terror police soared to a record 379 in the year to June – up two-thirds on the 150 seized the year before.
A total of 57 – almost one in six – were detained in swoops in the wake of four terror attacks in the UK between March and June.
Armed police in London after a terror attack this year. Figures show a record number of terror arrests were made in the year up to June 2017
Twelve were held after the attack at Westminster Bridge and the Palace of Westminster; 23 detained in connection with the bombing at Manchester Arena; 21 arrested over the London Bridge atrocity; and one seized over the Finsbury Park Mosque attack.
The Home Office statistics were published yesterday (THURS) amid repeated warnings that the danger posed by violent extremism has hit new heights.
In the past four years, Britain’s stretched police and spies have foiled 19 plots, including six in the last six months, while running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time, with a further 20,000 former ‘subjects of interest’ kept under review.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said: ‘The figures 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.’
Anti-terror police take down a suspect in east London during the London Bridge attack probe
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said: ‘There is no doubt that since March and following the attacks in London and Manchester we have seen a shift-change in momentum.
‘But while the terrorist threat has increased in recent months, so has our activity; reflected by this significant increase in arrests.
‘We’re taking every possible opportunity to disrupt terrorist activity, be it making arrests for terrorism offences, intervening where there are signs of radicalisation, or working with communities to prevent terrorists operating in their area.’
Overall, the number of terrorism suspects being arrested in the UK has reached the highest levels since Home Office recording began in 2001 – the year of the 9/11 attacks – as police combat the growing threat posed by Islamic and far-right extremists.
Shocking statistics reveal 54 suspected female extremists were detained in the last year – the highest on record. It was almost double the 30 arrested in the year to June 2016.
Seventeen people arrested were aged under 18 – up 50 per cent on the 12 who were caught by police last year.
21 arrests were made after the London Bridge attack, a month after the Manchester bombing
Of those held in swoops by counter-terror police, a record 168 were Asian – up 45 per cent on the previous year.
Statistics also show that the number of white terror suspects being arrested is at its highest for 15 years, with a sharp jump of 92 per cent from 66 to 127.
The number of individuals arrested for suspected international terrorism, including those linked to Islamic State, jumped 60 per cent from 184 to 294.
Arrests for ‘domestic’ terrorism – those not linked to or motivated by any terrorist group based outside the UK – increased five-fold from 10 to 52, accounting for around one in eight arrests.
Authorities have expressed concern that there are signs of a resurgence from neo-Nazi organisations after loner Thomas Mair was convicted of the brutal killing outside Jo Cox’s constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
Seven out of ten of those arrested were British or had British dual nationality. This proportion has increased considerably in recent years.
Ministers have launched a major review of counter-terror powers to examine whether agencies require further tools.
Options being explored include longer sentences for some terror-related offences and new measures to halt the spread of extremist material and propaganda online.