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‘Fifth of terror prisoners are right-wing extremists’

Home Office figures show that 42 out of 209 prisoners in 2020 were classed as holding ‘extreme right-wing’ views.

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Home Office figures show that 20% of people in prison for terror offences in Britain last year were right-wing extremists (Gareth Copley/PA)

Home Office figures show that 20% of people in prison for terror offences in Britain last year were right-wing extremists (Gareth Copley/PA)

Home Office figures show that 20% of people in prison for terror offences in Britain last year were right-wing extremists (Gareth Copley/PA)

One in five people behind bars for terror offences in Britain last year were right-wing extremists – the highest proportion since records began.

A total of 42 out of 209 prisoners in 2020 (20%) were classed as holding “extreme right-wing” views, up from 18% the previous year (41 out of 231), Home Office figures show.

Records on prisoner ideology began in 2013, when the proportion stood at 6%.

This halved to 3% in the following two years but has risen year on year ever since.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

While the “vast majority” (75%) are still classed as having Islamist extremist views, the number of inmates recorded as holding this ideology fell from 177 to 156 in the 12-month period.

The figures, which count convicted offenders and those being held on remand, also recorded 11 inmates who were not classified as holding a specific ideology, down from 13 a year earlier.

There were 31 convicted terrorists released from jail as well as 11 suspects who had been held in custody but not sentenced in the year to September, according to the data. Figures to December are not yet available.

The number of arrests for terrorism-related activity fell by 34%, from 282 down to 185, the lowest in nine years.

The figures came as it emerged that counter-terror police and UK intelligence services have foiled three terror attacks since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The fall in arrests may reflect the general reduction in crime during the pandemic, the effect of which was “most marked” between April and June amid national lockdowns and restrictions on movement, the Home Office report said.

Of these arrests, 56 (30%) resulted in a charge, 48 of which were terror-related.

Some 73 suspects (39%) were released on bail or released under investigation, meaning they were not subject to any restrictions while police inquiries continued.

A further 13 (7%) faced other action such as receiving a caution or being recalled to prison, while 40 suspects (22%) were released without charge.

PA


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