In the aftermath of the suicide bomb that this week killed 22 people who were attending an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, the number of suspected terrorists in the United Kingdom is being brought to light, and that number has increased over the past year.
There are 3,500 potential terrorists being monitored in the country – up from 3,000 in 2015, according to a report in the Express. Also, 400 or so ISIS fighters have returned from Syria and Iraq to the UK.
Despite the increasing number of suspected terrorists, the number of arrests, searches and examinations of said terrorists has dropped during 2016 from where it was in 2015.
Data from a quarterly Home Office report on the use of police powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 was released in March, and it shows decreasing numbers of arrests of terror suspects.
“Arrests for terrorism-related [offenses] fell by 8 percent in the year ending [December 31, 2016,] compared with the previous year (from 282 to 260 arrests),” according to the Home Office. “Although the number of arrests has fallen, it is still relatively high when compared with other recent years.”
Also, “[t]here has been an increase in the proportion of people arrested of ‘White’ ethnicity, from 25 percent in the year ending December 2015 to 35 percent in the latest year,” the report stated.
In 2016, there were “no persons in custody for domestic extremism/separatism, a fall from 25 in the previous year,” the Home Office explained. “However, this has been more than offset by an increase in number of individuals in custody for terrorism-related activity, which has steadily increased in recent quarters. As [of December 2016], there were 183 persons in custody for terrorism-related [offenses], an increase from 143 in custody in the previous year.”
Police stopped and searched 483 people in 2016 under the Terrorism Act 2000, which was a fall of 7 percent from the 521 stops during 2015, according to the report.
“This fall is driven by a particularly large number [from October to December 2015], rather than a particularly low number in the most recent quarters,” the Home Office said. During that same time, resulting arrests of terror suspects decreased from 57 to 44.