Syria-related terror arrests up sixfold in UK, police say

Officers made 165 arrests for offences including terrorist financing and attending terror training camp, compared with 25 in 2013

Police say the number of arrests for suspected Syria-related terror offences in Britain increased sixfold last year.

Officers made 165 arrests across the country for offences including terrorist financing, commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, and attending a terrorist training camp, Scotland Yard said. This compares with 25 Syria-related arrests in 2013.

The number of arrests for terrorist offences of all kinds totalled 327 last year, a 32% year-on-year increase.

Helen Ball, senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said: “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. We will continue with this vital work to protect and work with the UK public to combat terrorism in all its forms.”

The terror threat level in the UK was raised from substantial to severe last August against a backdrop of increasing concerns over hundreds of aspiring British jihadis travelling to Syria and Iraq to learn terrorist “tradecraft”.

Fears of an attack on Britain’s streets have heightened in the wake of the rise of Islamic State, the extremist group that has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria and attracted thousands of foreign jihadis to its cause, including more than 500 Britons.

Last May, father-of-two Mashudur Choudhury became the first person in the UK to be convicted of terrorist offences in connection with the Syria conflict.

The 31-year-old went to the Middle Eastern country with the intention of joining a terrorist training camp last October.


The Guardian

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