Record number of arrests, plots and attacks shows how far UK is from “getting a grip” on terrorism


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The Henry Jackson Society today responded to the publication of Home Office statistics that show arrests for suspected terrorism offences rose to a record high in 2017.

The Society this week published Prison Management of Terrorism-Related Offenders: Is Separation Effective?, a study which highlighted the changing demographic profile of those involved in Islamist extremism, including more women and children – a change reflected in the Home Office statistics. The research also said that separation of extremists from the rest of the prison population was the “only viable solution” to controlling the spread of radicalisation in Britain’s jails.

Tom Wilson, Research Fellow at the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, said:

“Essentially, by every measure, Islamist and far-right terrorist activity in the UK was up in 2017. The record number of arrests sits alongside a record number of plots being foiled – and, tragically, a record high in the number of Islamist terror attacks that the authorities were unable to foil. Trends in recent years also show a growing number of individuals being referred to the counter-radicalisation Prevent programme.

“When it comes to Islamist extremism, as Henry Jackson Society research released this week has shown, the profile of offenders is changing, with more women and young people being drawn into extremism and entering the prison system.

“While our counter-terrorism efforts are clearly having much success, nothing can hide the fact that the drivers of terrorism remain as much of a problem as ever. We are still a long way off adequately getting to grips with this and it is set to get worse with the return of hundreds of individuals who have spent time with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. We must be prepared for the threat to intensify considerably.”


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