Huge Rise In Syria-Related Terror Arrests

Huge Rise In Syria-Related Terror Arrests

The number of people arrested across the UK on suspicion of Syria-related terror offences has shown a massive rise.

Latest figures released by Scotland Yard, which has overall responsibility for Britain's counter-terrorism policing, reveal a more than six-fold increase in those detained in connection with Syria-related offences in 2014, compared with the previous year.

A total of 165 arrests were made by officers across the United Kingdom for suspected offences including terrorist financing, commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and attending terrorist training camps.

The figure compares to just 25 Syria-related arrests for the whole of 2013.

Of the 165 men and women arrested, 64 have so far been charged and have either stood trial or are waiting to appear in courtrooms around the UK in the coming months.

The total number of terrorist-related offences last year was 327, a 32% increase on the previous year.

Much of that rise was due to the increase in arrests linked to Syria, where many would-be jihadists have been seduced by Islamic State propaganda.

Senior National Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing Helen Ball said: "Last year's arrest figures demonstrate a considerable increase in volume, range and pace of counter-terrorism activity in the UK.

"We have been running exceptionally high numbers of investigations, the likes of which we have not seen for many years.

"Several attack plots have been disrupted, of various sophistication - from individuals planning to carry out lone attacks to more complex conspiracies, the majority seemingly directed by or inspired by terrorism overseas.

"The partnership between police and MI5 is very effective, and we are experiencing very strong support from the communities."

The terrorism threat level was increased last summer from "substantial" to "severe", meaning a terrorist attack is "highly likely".

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in France, UK authorities have enhanced their capabilities to help deal with any "Mumbai-style" armed attack here.

The country's police forces have also reviewed their security arrangements and potentially vulnerable groups, like the UK’s Jewish community, which has also seen increased patrols in some areas.

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