More white people arrested on suspicion of terrorism than Asian people last year, figures show

Sixty-six arrests were registered in 'domestic category', which would include detention for suspected far-right activity

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 07 March 2019 18:58 GMT
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More white people were arrested on suspicion of terrorism last year than Asian people, official figures show.

Of the 273 individuals arrested on suspicion of terror-related activity in Britain last year, 43 per cent were of white ethnic appearance. The figure represents an increase of nine per cent since 2017.

Just 31.5 percent were Asian.

Although the overall number of white suspects held, 118, was down by more than a quarter (26 per cent) year-on-year, it was the third highest for a calendar year since data collection started in 2001.

“The proportion of white people arrested now exceeds the proportion of Asian people arrested,” the Home Office statistical report said.

There were falls in arrests across all ethnic groups, the report said. The largest was seen for those of Asian ethnicity which fell by 56 per cent from 196 to 86 arrests.

Meanwhile, the total number of terror-related arrests in 2018 was down by 41 per cent on the previous year.

Officials said the fall is partly explained by the large number of arrests which followed attacks in London and Manchester in 2017.

Of those 273 arrests, 171 were registered in the “international" category, covering suspected activity linked to or inspired by terror groups outside the UK, such as Isis.

Sixty-six were registered in the “domestic” bracket, which includes cases where there was no connection to either Northern Ireland-related or international terrorism.

While further breakdowns were not given, that section would include arrests related to suspected far-right activity.

Out of 273 arrests: 102 (37 per cent) resulted in a charge, of which 81 were charged with terrorism-related offences; 99 people (36 per cent) were released without charge; 23 (8 per cent) people were released on bail pending further investigation; 17 (6 per cent) faced alternative action; and 32 (12 per cent) cases were pending at the time data was provided.

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Of the 81 people charged with a terrorism-related offence, 38 had been prosecuted, all of whom had been convicted.

There were 221 people in British custody who had been convicted or charged with terrorism-related offences at the end of December.

More than three quarters of those (79 per cent) were considered to have Islamist-extremist views, while 13 per cent were categorised as holding far right-wing ideologies.

The number of Islamist-extremist prisoners held in custody saw a decrease of 9 per cent to 175, the report said.

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Meanwhile, the proportion of prisoners holding far-right ideologies has increased steadily over the past three years, with the number up from 21 to 28 in the latest year.

Britain suffered five terror attacks in 2017, while 14 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots have been foiled in the last two years.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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