08 September 2022

Terror-related arrests in UK rise by 11% over past year

08 September 2022

Terror-related arrests have increased by 11% over the past year, according to Home Office figures.

Police forces in the UK arrested 203 people for terrorism-related activity in the year ending June 30 2022 – 20 more than in the previous 12-month period.

Of the people arrested, 94 (46%) were released under investigation, while 50 (25%) were released without being charged.

As of Thursday, some 49 suspects (24%) had been charged, and 10 (5%) faced alternative action, including being cautioned or recalled to prison.

As in previous years, most suspects were male and British, with only five of the 203 people arrested being women.

Some 75% of them were British or British dual nationals.

Among those arrested, 16% were youngsters aged under 18, though the main demographic was men over 30 (41%).

As of Thursday, 66 people had been tried in court for terrorism-related offences, with high levels of conviction, at 88%.

The number of people subjected to stop and searches by the Metropolitan Police under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 has also dropped by 12% over the past year.

Some 396 people were searched by the force in the year up to June 30, compared with 452 in the 12 months prior.

Of the latest searches, 30 (8%) resulted in an arrest – two percentage points lower than in the previous year when 47 people were arrested (10%).

Since 2019, the Met has gradually been decreasing the number of stop and searches carried out.

In this year, some 699 were conducted by the force over a 12-month period.

The digital world is playing a big part in this, with terrorist content and propaganda unfortunately being accessible to young people online

Counter Terrorism Policing’s acting senior national co-ordinator, Commander Richard Smith, said: “Terrorism arrests across the UK are up 11% year-on-year and this reflects an uptick in our operational activity since the easing of restrictions linked to the pandemic.

“The most concerning element of this, however, is the continued rise in the number of children who are being arrested for extremely serious terrorism offences.

“The digital world is playing a big part in this, with terrorist content and propaganda unfortunately being accessible to young people online.

“We have specialist teams and officers working with other international law enforcement agencies and with the tech industry to combat this and terrorist material is continually being removed. But we also need the public – and parents in particular – to be aware of and alive to the dangers that online extremists and terrorists can pose to their children.

“There is support available to anyone who might be heading down a path towards radicalisation, so I would urge those who may have concerns about somebody they know to act early and seek help and advice.

“You can visit our website or you can call the dedicated support line, but please get in touch before it becomes too late. We would much rather be helping and giving young people support, than arresting them for serious terrorism offences.”

Anyone concerned about somebody and think they may be at risk of radicalisation then you can find advice and support at www.actearly.uk or call the ACT Early Support Line on 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to share concerns with specially trained officers.

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