Two hundred terror arrests made last year

A total of 201 people were arrested on suspicion of terrorism last year, Home Office figures showed today.

Of those, 66 were eventually charged, 17 under terror laws.

In the year ending September 2009 there were 200,444 people stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, down 12% on the previous year.

The number of terrorism arrests is slightly up on last year, when 178 arrests were made.

There have been 1,759 terrorism arrests since September 11 2001, the figures show.

For the year ending September 11 2009, of the 66 people charged, 17 (26%) were charged under terrorism legislation while seven (11%) were charged with terrorism-related offences.

The most common charge under terror laws since 2001 is possession of an article for terrorism purposes (30%) and fundraising (14%).

The charge rate of 33% is just above that for indictable offences, which is 29%.

The figures show that since September 11 2001, 383 suspects have been charged with terrorism-related offences, with 310 prosecutions completed.

Some 74% of those prosecuted were convicted.

Last year there were 29 terror trials, with 86% resulting in a conviction.

The figures show the number of stop and searches in the second quarter of 2009-10 was 53% down on the same period the previous year.

Some 15% of those stopped classified themselves as Asian or Asian British and 10% said they were black or black British.



The arrest rate resulting from searches under Section 44, which must take place within a designated area, was just 0.5%, with 965 people detained.

The Metropolitan Police also made 1,896 stop and searches under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows an officer to stop a person they suspect to be a terrorist.

One in five of those stopped identified themselves as being Asian.

The Government's anti-terror laws were thrown into turmoil in January after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that police who use anti-terrorism powers to stop and search members of the public without suspicion are acting illegally.

In a surprise ruling, the judges said Section 44 of the Terrorism Act violated individual freedoms.

The court said the powers violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees the right to private life against the power of the state.

Anti-terrorism chiefs ordered an escalation in the use of Section 44 powers after the failed bomb attack against the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London's Haymarket in 2007.

That resulted in more than a quarter of a million people being searched in 2008-09 - the highest on record and more than twice the level of the previous year.

But after a public outcry over the use of searches, which disproportionately effect minority groups, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson ordered them to be scaled back.

The powers allow officers to stop anyone in a specified area without the need for reasonable suspicion. From last year, the powers were limited to specific parts of London, including Westminster.

Photographers and protesters have claimed the powers are used excessively against them.

Policing and security minister David Hanson said: "We face a real and serious threat from terrorism and the figures released today underline the success of the police, security service and intelligence agencies in disrupting terrorists. We must all be grateful for their hard work and dedication.

"The statistics also show the success of the CPS in prosecuting individuals and bringing them to justice. Since recording began in September 2001, 230 people have been convicted of a terrorism-related offence.

"There can be no doubt about the complexity of the threat we face and the aspiration of those intent on committing acts of terrorism. That is why the Government is committed to wherever possible prosecuting those involved in terrorism. And where we can't prosecute, we seek to deport or disrupt."

Alex Deane of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch said: "These figures show that actual terrorism-related charges are rare, demonstrating the relatively small objective threat that these people pose.

"This shows that we should not have allowed our whole way of life to be changed by intrusive technology like ID cards and body scanners on account of Government-manufactured hysteria about terrorism."



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