UK Counter Terrorism (CT) arrests have increased by 17%, with 441 arrests between March 2017 and March 2018 – this is compared with 378 in the previous year.
Metropolitan Police have advised the public to “Remain vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or activity to police, in confidence, on 0800 789 321 or via gov.uk/ACT “
In an emergency, you must of course call 999 and get as far from the attack as possible if it is safe to do so.
The new figures, recently released by the Home Office, are said to be the result of around 600 CT investigations taking place at any one time, with approximately 3000 people on the watch list.
Metropolitan Police revealed in a press release that 12 terrorist plots had been foiled in the UK since the March 2017 Westminster attack, as well as “A further four planned right-wing attacks.”
The statement also noted that the figures showed, “The broad spectrum of people being arrested in connection with terrorism investigations in terms of age, gender and ethnicity.”
13% of terrorism-related arrests involved female suspects, reports London Loves Business, and this reflects the increased reports we have seen in the news of women and teenagers associated with attacks and planned attacks.
The Home Office has warned that the terrorism threat level will remain “severe” for another two years – meaning that an act of terrorism is highly likely – and may increase to “critical” levels, as it did twice in 2017.
It was also noted that in addition to groups such as Daesh / Islamic State, there is a marked increase in activity from the far right – in line with the four foiled right-wing terrorism plots in the year up to March 2018.
A review of counter terrorism activity in June reported that existing measures were “well-organised and comprehensive” but recommended some improvements.
Speaking at a memorial service for victims of the London Bridge and Borough Market attack, Home Secretary Sajid Javid reiterated government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, as well as hi personal commitment to making the UK safer, saying: “It is my first priority every day in this job.”
Safety Through Technology
Finance website baystreet.ca looked at the Home Office’s report from a slightly different angle… As new measures are being developed to detect and prevent terrorism in the UK and around the world, the finance group points out that companies producing these innovative items could be a wise investment!
That’s encouraging as it means many organisations are spending money on new security measures, or are planning to do so – although there’s no indication of when the various items are expected to be in place.
Companies to watch, according to Baystreet, are driving developments in thermal imaging systems, aviation security (weapons and explosives detection), communications, national security systems, and scanners for body-concealed weapons.
It’s good to know that so much is being done to make security checks more efficient, but at the same time it highlights the fact that the there is indeed a threat.
When travelling locally and internationally, being alert and prepared – with information, a plan in case of emergencies, and the appropriate financial protection – will help make every journey safer.