Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator 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 fall of 40% on the previous year.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator, believes 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.
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.”
Of the 268 arrests 90 (34%) 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.
But while the last 12 months has seen a gradual reductions in arrests and convictions, Deputy Assistant Haydon warned that the number of investigations remains at an all-time high.
He added: “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.
“I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and ACT if you see anything suspicious by reporting it to us confidentially via gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.”
The public are playing a crucial role in helping police and the security services disrupt terrorist activity, with more than 22% of all reports from the public producing intelligence which is helpful to police.
To learn more about how you can contribute to the UK’s fight against terrorism visit gov.uk/ACT
The full statistics published on the Home Office website can be found here: Operation of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 and subsequent legislation