Terror arrests drop after surge in wake of Manchester and London attacks

The number of people arrested for terror offences in Great Britain has dropped by 40% in the last year, compared with the 12-month period which saw several high-profile attacks on London and Manchester.

The 268 arrests made in the year ending March 2019 was significantly down on the 443 the previous year – the highest since records began – which included the Manchester Arena bombing, plus terror attacks at London Bridge, Parsons Green and Finsbury Park.

Of the 268 arrests, about one third (90 in total, or 34%) resulted in a charge, while some 69 people (26%) were released without charge, according to Home Office data.

Terrorism-related arrests in Great Britain
Terrorism-related arrests in Great Britain

Of the 70 people charged with a terrorism-related offence, 32 had been prosecuted, all of whom had been convicted.

The 268 represents the lowest figure since 251 arrests in 2014.

The figures show that more than two in five suspects (41%) were white – the highest percentage since March 2004 (42.%).

Black suspects accounted for 11.9% of those arrested in the 12 months to March 2019, up slightly from 9.9% the previous year.

The data also showed Asian suspects accounted for 36.2% of those arrested in 2018-19, down from 40.6% in the 12 months prior, and the lowest percentage since 2006 (34.9%).

Home Office data also showed an increase in the number and percentage of arrests for suspects with extreme right wing ideologies.

A total of 33 people with such views were arrested in the year to March 2019, up from 29 the previous year, and nine the year before that.

It accounted for 14.8% of those arrested, up from 12.7% and 5% in the previous two years.

Islamist extremists made up the bulk of suspects in custody for terror-related offences.

There were 178 in the last year, down from 186 the year before. It is the first time since 2014 that the number has not increased.