The number of arrests involving women and people of white ethnic appearance? are at their highest levels ever
A year marred by deadly terror attacks led to the highest number of terrorism-related arrests ever recorded in the UK, figures from the Home Office show.
Police made 412 terrorism-related arrests in 2017, an increase of 58 per cent from the previous year when there were 261 arrests.
They include a record 61 women (accounting for 15 per cent of total arrests) and a record number of people of white ethnic appearance, and 66 per cent who considered themselves to be British or dual citizens.
Counter terror police were involved in a number of massive investigations including attacks that were carried out in Manchester and London, and a number of thwarted plots.
Of those arrested, a third were charged with a crime, while more than half were released without charge, the Home Office revealed.
A majority of those currently in custody in UK prisons held Islamist extremist views (86 per cent), the report found.
There were increases in the number of arrests across all ethnic groups, with the largest for those of white ethnic appearance (61 per cent, from 90 to a record 145 arrests).
There was also a 37 per cent increase in the number of arrests of Asian people (from 124 to 170), the report stated.
The 30 and over age group accounted for the most arrests (48 per cent).
The 66 per cent who considered themselves British or dual citizens was the lowest proportion in a calendar year since 2011 (64 per cent).
Dozens of people were arrested in connection with five terror attacks:
- Twelve in connection with the Westminster terror attack on March 22
- Twenty-three following the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22
- Twenty-one in connection with the attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3
- One in the Finsbury Park mosque attack on June 19
- Seven in the Parsons Green Tube explosion in south London on September 15
Last year’s attacks forced Britain to temporarily raise its threat alert to its highest level (critical, meaning an attack is expected imminently) and put soldiers on the streets to back up armed officers.
Armed officers patrolled trains across Britain for the first time, and soldiers were stationed at key sites including government buildings and tourist attractions.
Of the 412 arrests, 135 people were charged with a crime (33 per cent), 228 were released without charge (55 per cent), 33 were released on bail pending further investigation (eight per cent), 13 faced alternative action (three per cent), and three cases were pending at the time the report was produced.
Of the 135 charged with a crime, 110 of them were charged with terrorism-related offences (81 per cent), leading to 29 convictions.
A further 76 were awaiting prosecution at the time of the report, while proceedings against four were dropped and one case was pending.
The Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter Terrorism Division had completed 86 trials by the end of the year, an increase of 39 per cent from 2016.
Ninety per cent of the cases resulted in a conviction. There were eight acquittals and one trial had to be halted due to the defendant’s death.
As of December 31, 224 people were in custody for terrorism-related offences (serving sentences and on remand), a year-on-year rise of 24 per cent.
It continued an upward trend seen over the last few years, the report said.
Of those in custody, 86 per cent held Islamist extremist views, nine per cent held far right-wing ideologies and five per cent other ideologies.
Other findings include:
- Stop-and-searches carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service under section 43 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2000 totalled 767, an increase of 59 per cent on 2016.
- The stop-and-searches led to 61 arrests, up from 44 the previous year.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said: “Today’s figures are, once again, testament to the breadth of work undertaken by the police, Security Service and wider judicial system in identifying and stopping terrorism in our communities and bringing those responsible to justice.
“The police and Security Service have been clear about the scale of the threat we face.
“We will continue to work with them and other agencies to ensure we have a broad response to all forms of terrorism both now and in the future.
“The public should remain alert but not alarmed and report any suspicions they have about unusual activity or behaviour to the appropriate authorities.”
Credit: Mirror Uk