As we approach the new year, and say goodbye to 2020 we wanted to look back on the role that Counter Terrorism Policing has played in protecting the public by investigating, preventing and deterring terrorist activity. This involves the launch of new campaigns, sentencing for those involved in terrorist activity and a change in the threat level…
Throughout the year, the rise in Right Wing Terrorism in young people has increased. In February 2020, neo-nazi group Sonnenkrieg Division (SKD) were proscribed as a terrorist group in the UK. As of Friday 28 February 2020, it is an offence to be a member or support Sonnenkrieg Division, as well as National Action off-shoot, System Resistance Network (SRN). Anyone convicted could face up to 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Following the proscription, Head of CT Policing, Neil Basu announced: “Last year I warned that right wing terrorism (RWT) was the fastest growing terror threat in the UK, and today’s proscription is a positive step in the fight against this insidious and hateful ideology.
“The overriding threat to the UK remains from Daesh-inspired groups and individuals, but the threat we face from RWT is very real – proven by the fact that nearly a third of the plots foiled by police and security services since 2017 relate to right wing ideology.
“We have already seen the conviction of two SKD members for plotting to attack the Royal family, and there are countless other examples of the exceptional work that has taken place across our national network to disrupt, dismantle and destroy right wing terrorist groups such as SKD or National Action.
“However, despite our success in this area we are not complacent and when groups like National Action fracture and attempt to rebrand to avoid detection, much like with SRN, you can be sure we are ready to tackle them in whatever new guise they adopt.
“But as I have said repeatedly, we cannot simply hope to arrest our way out of this problem. It requires the whole of society to realise that we all have a part to play in this fight and while my officers might be on the frontline, we cannot succeed without the help and support of the public.
“Groups like SKD spread their poisonous propaganda online and we will take action against anyone who attempts to draw vulnerable people down a path towards extremist and violence. But too often recently we have seen young people in the UK jailed after being lured down that path by what they consume online.”
National Action became the first right wing organisation to be banned by the government since World War II in December 2016. In March 2020, four people were convicted of being members of the neo-Nazi group.
In July 2020 Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) became the third Neo-Nazi organisation in just six months to be proscribed as a terrorist group by the UK government.
As of Friday 17 July 2020, it is an offence to be a member or support FKD, with those found guilty like 17-year-old Paul Dunleavy, facing up to 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Deputy Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Jacques, said: “Our world class Counter Terrorism Network has become adept at identifying and disrupting these groups, but like the recently proscribed Sonnenkrieg Division, and National Action before that, we should expect FKD to splinter and rebrand under a different name.
“We will continue to use every power at our disposal to arrest and charge those who support this group and those like it, but we can only hope to beat this insidious ideology by stopping young and vulnerable people from following the path towards extremism in the first place.”
What you can do…
If you are worried that someone close to you is at risk of radicalisation, visit actearly.uk for help and guidance on protecting those around you. Or call the national Police Prevent Advice Line on 0800 011 3764, in confidence, and our specially trained Prevent officers will listen carefully to your concerns.
If you are unsure on how to report suspicious activity, or are not sure what to look out for, visit gov.uk/ACT for more information on what you can do to help protect your community.