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White people largest ethnic group arrested for terrorism for second consecutive year

24th Mar 2020
White people largest ethnic group arrested for terrorism for second consecutive year

(Photo credit:Tisteran/WikiCommons)

Hamed Chapman

For the second successive year, the number of white terror suspects arrested in the UK has outstripped those of Asian appearance, according to the latest official figures from the Home Office.

The statistics for 2019 show that 117 White people were arrested on suspicion of terror offences, the highest ethnic group, compared to 111 Asian suspects and 21 black suspects.

“The proportion of White people arrested exceeded the proportion of Asian people arrested for the second consecutive year, having not done previously since 2004,” states the Home Office bulletin on the operation of police powers under the Terrorism legislation.

The change in the numbers comes after increased police operations against far-right extremists, including members of National Action. The neo-Nazi terrorist group was banned in 2016 but split into factions that operated under different names and whose members were later arrested in mass raids.

Last September, the head of counter-terror police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, described right-wing extremism as the fastest-growing terror threat in the UK and intelligence agencies were brought in to tackle it for the first time.

The latest figures are thought to include a few so-called ‘suspected Islamist extremists who are White’ with the focus still apparently on foiling twice as many ‘Islamist’ plots, 16, as against eight from the far right since March 2017.

A breakdown of last year’s numbers shows there were falls in terrorist arrests across all ethnic groups, apart from those of Asian ethnic appearance, which increased by 26 per cent when compared with the previous year (from 88 to 111). Yet, despite arrests for those of White ethnic appearance, decreasing by three per cent they remained the highest ethnic group.

Altogether there were 280 arrests for terrorism-related activity in 2019, two fewer than the previous year. Less than a third of the suspects were charged, while 39 per cent were released for continuing investigation, 23 per cent were freed without charge and 7 per cent faced alternative action.

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