The number of arrests made on charges of terrorism has reached record levels in the United Kingdom according to official figures by the Home Office.
The report showed that by 31 March 2018, more than 441 people were arrested on suspicion of participating in terrorist- related activity. The number represents the highest number of arrests since 2001, the year when the survey began. It also represented a 17% increase over the 376 recorded arrests in 2017.
This was confirmed by Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner and head of counter- terrorism policing in the United Kingdom:
“With the terrorist attacks of 2017, we saw a genuine step-change in momentum. As a result, our operational activity increased to meet the new and emerging threats we now face.
“A year on and our activity continues to be at unprecedented levels; shown, not least, by the fact that, in the past year, working together with the security services we have stopped an average of one terrorist attack every month. Police, together with the security service, are determined to make the U.K. as hostile an environment for terrorists as possible.”
The Home Office believes the rise in arrest numbers coincided with last year’s attacks in London and Manchester. Since 9/11, more than 4,000 terrorist- related arrests have been made in the United Kingdom.
A total of 12 terrorist attacks related to Islamist-militants have been stopped by the U.K. police and intelligence agencies since March 2017. During this period, four more attacks by suspected far-right extremists were also foiled.
There have also been more people jailed for terrorist-related activity. As of March 31, 2017, more than 228 people have been jailed for terrorist activity in the U.K. This number represents a 27% increase since data collection started in 2009.
An alarming statistic showed that 48 prisoners who were previously jailed for terrorist-related activity were released in 2017. Police and intelligence agencies are concerned more convicted terrorist suspects will be released from prison this year.