United Kingdom

British police have foiled three terror attacks and made 185 arrests

Three terror attacks have foiled in the UK since the start of the Covid pandemic, it was revealed today. 

Counter Terrorism Policing disclosed the information as Home Office figures showed the number of arrests for terrorism-related activity fell by 34% in 2020, the lowest level in nine years.

Despite this, the number of terror plots prevented by police and the intelligence services has risen to 28 since March 2017, police said.

Counter Terrorism Policing disclosed the information as Home Office figures showed the number of arrests for terrorism-related activity fell by 34% in 2020. File photo 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, the senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: 'These statistics tell me two things.

'Firstly, that despite facing unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, Counter Terrorism Policing continued to keep the public safe by making 185 arrests across more than 800 live investigations, stopping three possible terror attacks in the process.

'And secondly, that while the rest of us have been focused on protecting ourselves and our families from this terrible disease, terrorists have not stopped planning attacks or radicalising vulnerable people online.

'As we follow the Government's road map out of the tightest restrictions there will be greater opportunity for terrorists to operate, and we want the public to join the police, security staff and retail workers in a collective community effort to minimise the chance of attack.

'We know from experience that public information and action helps save lives and lead to the significant arrests detailed in these statistics.'

Updating MPs about ISIS, the Foreign Secretary said the UK is tackling the group's propaganda 'head on'.

But he warned the terror group is 'still able to carry out lethal attacks' and it remains the UK's 'most significant terrorist threat' both at home and abroad.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Raab said: 'This is a critical moment.

'Yes, Daesh's brand has weakened - it remains, nonetheless, globally recognised.

'In December 2020, the UK Counter-Terrorism Referral Unit saw a 7% rise in the volume of terrorist content online and we can see a worrying rise in the proportion of children and teenagers that are now being arrested for terrorism offences.

'And it was Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Met (Metropolitan Police) who described lockdown and the accessibility of terrorist content online as a perfect storm because terrorists have digital access to those who are probably the most susceptible to extremist narratives.

'So we are tackling Daesh's propaganda head on and I am proud the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) leads on this work on behalf of the global coalition.'

He added the UK Government has 'carried out a range of targeted and effective cyber operations'.

On the threat posed by IS, Mr Raab said: 'The safety and the security of our citizens is obviously the Government's highest priority, it is at the core of our work in tackling Daesh, which remains our most significant terrorist threat - both at home and abroad.'

Mr Raab told MPs the Global Coalition Against Daesh estimates there are still 'around 10,000 Daesh members at large across Syria and Iraq', adding: 'So support for Daesh still lingers on in many communities.'

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