The number of suspects arrested in terrorism investigations has reached a record high, official figures reveal.
A total of 400 people were held for terror-related offences in Britain in the year to the end of September, the highest tally since data collection started in 2001 and a jump of 54% compared to last year.
The 400 total includes 12 arrests made in connection with the Westminster attack, 23 after Manchester, 21 after London Bridge and one after the Finsbury Park attack,
Seven were also made following the Parsons Green bomb plot in September.
Anti-terror police take down a suspect in east London during the London Bridge attack probe. Figures released today show UK police arrested a record 400 terror suspects in the last year
A Home Office statistical bulletin said: ‘As a result, the number of arrests in the year to 30 September 2017 was the highest since the data collection began.’
Just under a third of those arrested, 115 people, were later charged, with the vast majority of those charged with terrorism-related offences.
More than 200 of those arrested were were released without charge, 60 were released on bail pending further investigation and 11 faced so-called ‘alternative action’.
Earlier this week, a report revealed that counter-terror teams are currently running about 500 live investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time, while there is also a wider pool of 20,000 subjects of previous probes.
In a briefing given to the Cabinet on Tuesday, the head of MI5 Andrew Parker revealed that total of nine Islamist terrorist plots have been thwarted in the UK over the past year.
Two men appeared in court yesterday after security services said they interrupted an alleged plan to blow up the gates to Downing Street and assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May.
21 arrests were made after the London Bridge attack, a month after the Manchester bombing
Accusations also emerged yesterday, in a separate case, that an alleged extremist encouraged followers to attack Prince George at his primary school. He too faces court action.
An official report earlier this week found that spies missed crucial opportunities to thwart the Manchester terror attack which cost 22 lives.
UK counter-terrorism officials might have prevented suicide bomber Salman Abedi blowing himself up at a pop concert if intelligence had been given greater priority.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Commons that the jihadist atrocity on May 22, which left adults and children dead, could have been avoided ‘had the cards fallen differently’.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the ringleader of the Islamist terror gang which brought bloodshed to central London on June 3 was being investigated by MI5 and police for his extremist views.
Khuram Butt and his two accomplices in the London Bridge attacks were shot dead by armed police. A review earlier this week found he was being investigated at the time of the attack
Khuram Butt – one of three men who slaughtered eight people in a van and knife rampage – had been on the authorities’ radar for two years because of concerns he wanted to attack the UK.
Despite the findings, David Anderson QC, a former anti-terror laws watchdog who examined the four main attacks of the summer, said: ‘The excellent recent record of MI5 and the police in defending the UK from terrorist attack came to a brutal end this year.
‘Despite elevated threat levels, the fundamentals are sound and the great majority of attacks continue to be thwarted.’
Mr Anderson said: ‘In particular, MI5 and the police have identified the need to use data more effectively, to share knowledge more widely, to improve their own collaboration and to assess and investigate terrorist threats on a uniform basis, whatever the ideology that inspires them.’
New Defence Secretary says British citizens who fought for ISIS should be ‘eliminated’
By Larisa Brown Defence And Security Editor For The Daily Mail
Gavin Williamson signalled he was prepared to hunt down and use air strikes against the remaining 270 Britons who have travelled to Syria and Iraq
Not a single British citizen who has fought for Islamic State should be allowed back into the UK, the Defence Secretary declared last night.
Gavin Williamson signalled he was prepared to hunt down and use air strikes against the remaining 270 UK passport holders who have travelled to Syria and Iraq.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: ‘Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.’
He added: ‘I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country.
‘We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.’
His comments are the starkest yet on the issue of whether British jihadists should be allowed to return home to the UK.
In October, Britain’s terror watchdog, Max Hill QC, sparked a row by suggesting that some young people who had travelled to Syria and Iraq should be allowed to come home and re-join society.
He said that it was not worth losing a generation of young people who ‘naively’ went to join Islamic State.
But Mr Williamson’s remarks appear to be an emphatic rejection of that argument.
More than 800 UK citizens are thought to have gone to fight for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Around half of them have already returned, and around 130 have been killed, leaving an estimated 270 left.