A suicide attack on police in Tunisia on 6 March was a stark reminder that while the coronavirus / Covid-19 crisis may be impeding a lot of travel plans, it isn’t a deterrent to terrorists.
The perpetrators were two people on a motorbike – yet another case of a smaller attack which caused widespread disruption as it took place outside the US embassy. This increase in “smaller” attacks and “lone wolf” operators is a trend which has been noted frequently by international counter-terrorism police, as well as research reports such as the Global Terrorism Index (GTI).
Another trend we’ve reported on previously and that was highlighted by the latest GTI (published in November 2019) is the increase in right-wing terrorism: “Incidents of far-right terrorism have been increasing in the West, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania. The total number of incidents have increased by 320 per cent over the past five years.”
The GTI also reports that in the US in 2018, there were no recorded attacks by a known terrorist group, and that far-right terrorism “Has become increasingly associated with individuals with broad ideological allegiances rather than specific terrorist groups.". “Out of 57 events, 28 were committed by far-right extremists, 27 by unknown perpetrators, and two by jihadi-inspired extremists.”
The report acknowledges that these far-right attacks are still a small percentage of total global terrorism, but it’s clear that this is not a risk we can ignore.
What about the UK?
The Home Office released a report on the latest terrorism arrest statistics on 5 March which shows that local trends are quite similar to the global picture.
The total number of people arrested for terrorism-related offences in the last quarter of 2019 was at a 2-year high, although the total 2019 arrests decreased by 1% compared to 2018. There are currently around 3,000 people “on the radar” of UK counter-terrorism police.
A number of newspapers picked up on trends in the Home Office’s statistics. Metro, for example, reported that of the 231 people in custody during 2019 on terrorism-related charges, 41 (almost 18%) “were categorised as holding extreme right-wing ideology.”
A graph produced by the Home Office, illustrating the changes in ideology for terrorism-related arrests.
Various media have pointed out that there was a larger proportion of “white” arrestees for terror related offences than other ethnic groups. Nick Lowles of HOPE Not Hate has been quoted, explaining that ethnicity doesn’t necessarily determine ideology: “‘It is likely that some of the arrested people identified as ‘white’ would have been involved in Islamist related activity.”
What can we do?
These changing statistics reinforce the fact that we need to remain vigilant, whether we’re at home or abroad. More than ever, we can’t assume that anyone is “safer” or “more dangerous” based on stereotypes or ethnicity, and we need to report any suspicious activity as soon as we can.
We believe in being prepared, not scared – especially with attacks becoming less deadly but more frequent and still extremely disruptive to work, travel and many other aspects of our lives. Safe Journey can help you to have greater peace of mind with local and international travel, with financial protection in case you’re affected by an act of terrorism – directly or indirectly – and we’re committed to keeping that peace of mind extremely cost-effective, no matter how the statistics change.
Recent Blog Posts
- UK Government Coronavirus Campaign
- Looking Forward To 2021 Journeys
- The Changing Face Of Terrorism
- Travel Safety Round-Up: 9/3/2020
- New Laws To Make Us Safer
- Coronavirus Update: 25/2/2020
- Travel Safety Round-Up: 25/2/2020
- Terrorism In The Maldives
- Coronavirus Update: What YouNeed To Know
- Travel Safety Round-Up: 10/2/2020
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