Terror arrests at record high in wake of London and Manchester attacks

Martin Bentham
Anti-terror police at the scene of the attack at London Bridge: Jeremy Selwyn

Terror arrests have risen to a record high in the wake of the attacks in London and Manchester with more than 400 suspects held by police in the past year, official figures revealed today.

The Home Office statistics show that 412 terrorism-related arrests were made during 2017 — an increase of 58 per cent on the 261 people detained the previous year.

A tenth of the arrests were made following terrorist attacks in London, with 21 suspects held after the Borough Market murders, 12 after the Westminster killings, one at Finsbury Park, and seven after the failed bombing on the Tube at Parsons Green.

There were also 23 arrests following the Manchester Arena attack.

But arrests throughout the year continued to run at a high level taking the overall total above 300 for the first time in a calendar year.

Most of those arrested were men, with 351 held during the year. The number of women and girls detained was also at a record high of 61, equivalent to 15 per cent of the total number of arrests. Security minister Ben Wallace said the figures showed the success of police and MI5 but urged the public to remain alert and report any suspicions.

He added: “Today’s figures are, once again, testament to the breadth of work undertaken by the police, security service and wider judicial system in identifying and stopping terrorism in our communities and bringing those responsible to justice… The public should remain alert but not alarmed and report any suspicions they have about unusual activity or behaviour.”

The statistics also show that 110 people were charged with a terrorism-related offence. Of these, 29 had been prosecuted and convicted by the time today’s data was compiled.

Of the arrests, 48 per cent were of suspects aged 30 or over. There were 27 arrests of under-18s — the highest number of juveniles held in a year since records began.

White people accounted for 145 arrests, the highest tally so far, although Asian suspects accounted for the largest number of arrests with 170 during 2017.

A third of suspects arrested were foreign, but 68 per cent were British citizens.