‘Unprecedented’ threat remains despite decrease in arrests
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon has warned the UK still faces an ‘unprecedented’ level of threat, despite arrest numbers falling in the previous 12 months.
The Home Office’s quarterly release of statistics relating to the police’s use of powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 revealed that the total number of counter terrorism related arrests fell to 268 in the year to March 2019, a 40 per cent fall on the previous year.
Haydon, Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator, says that this is partly due to a relatively large number of arrests in the previous reporting year, in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.
Of the 268 arrests, 90 resulted in a charge, of which 70 were charged with terrorism-related offences. Of those 70, 32 had been convicted, with a total of 34 people still awaiting prosecution.
He said: “We are seeing the number of CT arrests gradually return to levels we experienced before 2017’s spike in activity caused the total to dramatically increase. However, the total of 268 arrests in the year to March 2019 is still one of the largest we have seen since we began to record this data in 2001.
“When we examine that figure of 268 arrests alongside the fact that Counter Terrorism Policing and UK intelligences services have foiled 19 attack plots since March 2017 and that we are currently running nearly 800 live investigations, it clearly shows that the UK is still facing an unprecedented level of threat from terrorism.
“That step-change in terrorist activity is matched by the efforts of the police and security services to keep the public safe, but I would like to remind the public that their vigilance is also vital to help us in that mission.”