UK terror arrests hit record levels in 2017


London: The number of arrests made for terror offences in Britain hit a new record of 412 in 2017, according to latest UK government figures released on Thursday.
This marks a rise of more than 58 per cent over the previous year, when there were 216 arrests.
“This was the highest number of arrests in a year since the data collection began,” the UK Home Office data notes.
The arrests include 61 women, accounting for 15 per cent of total arrests, and a record number of suspects of white ethnic appearance, and 66 per cent who considered themselves to be British or dual citizens.
The year 2017 witnessed 36 victims killed and hundreds injured in high-profile terrorist attacks in the country, including attacks on Parliament, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park. Part of the increase in arrests was accounted for by large-scale police operations in the wake of the terror attacks.
A third of the arrests resulted in a criminal charge, but not all for terror-related offences, with some people detained released without further action, on bail or under alternative measures, the figures reveal.
“Of the 110 persons charged with a terrorism-related offence in the year ending 31 December 2017, 29 had been prosecuted (as at 15 January 2018, the time of data provision to the Home Office), all of which were convicted. A further 76 were awaiting prosecution, four were not proceeded against, and one case was pending,” the Home Office said.
As at December 31, 2017, there were 224 persons in custody in Britain for terrorism-related offences, an increase of 24 per cent on the 181 persons in custody in the previous year, continuing the upward trend seen in terrorist prisoners over the last few years. Of those in custody last year, the majority (86 per cent) held Islamist extremist views, a further 9 per cent held far right-wing ideologies and 5 per cent other ideologies.
Police revealed the use of a variety of legal powers to investigate terror suspects, including 767 stop and searches under the UK’s Terrorism Act – which resulted in 61 arrests – and more than 16,000 checks at land, sea and airports.
There were increases in the number of arrests across all ethnic groups in Britain last year, with the largest for those of white ethnic appearance – 61 percent, from 90 to a record 145 arrests.
There was also a 37 percent increase in the number of arrests of Asian people (from 124 to 170), the report stated.