412 arrests for terrorism-related offences in Britain in 2017
Terror suspects were arrested in record numbers last year as security services confronted a surge in both Islamist and extreme far-right activity.
Official figures show there were 412 arrests for terrorism-related offences in Britain in 2017.
It was an increase of 58% compared with 2016 and the first time the tally for a calendar year has been above 300.
A Home Office bulletin said the increase was partly due to a large number of arrests after attacks in London and Manchester.
The vast majority of the arrests last year were linked to either international or domestic terrorism, which were both at the highest level on record.
Three hundred of the arrests were in the international category, which covers suspected activity linked to or motivated by terrorist groups based outside the UK - such as Islamic State.
Seventy-one of the arrests were logged in the domestic bracket, which relates to cases where there is no connection to either Northern-Ireland related or international terrorism.
Further breakdowns are not given in the statistics but it is thought the rise in "domestic" arrests mainly reflects an increasing focus on suspected extreme right-wing activity.
Of the arrests made over the year: 135 resulted in a charge, of which 110 were charged with terrorism-related offences; 228 individuals were released without charge; 33 were released on bail pending further investigation; 13 faced "alternative action"; and three cases were pending.
The statistics also showed:
- The number of white suspects arrested, 145, was the highest since data collection started in 2001, while 170 individuals of Asian ethnicity were arrested, a 37% increase on 2016
- Sixty-one females were arrested - the largest number for any calendar year
- Arrests of those aged under 18 reached record levels, with 27 last year
- The proportion of suspects considering themselves to be of British or British dual nationality, 68%, was the lowest in a calendar year since 2011
- As of the end of last year, 224 prisoners were in custody after being charged with or convicted of terrorism-related offences
- The Metropolitan Police Service carried out 767 stop and searches under the Terrorism Act - an increase of 59% on the previous year
Security chiefs have described the scale of the threat being confronted as unprecedented.
Police and MI5 are running more than 600 live counter-terror investigations relating to 3,000 individuals.
There is also a wider pool of 20,000 former "subjects of interest" who have previously featured in probes and who are kept under review.
Britain was hit by five attacks in 2017, while counter-terror agencies made an unprecedented number of interventions to thwart suspected attack planning.
Police say 10 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots have been stopped since the Westminster atrocity in March last year.
Security Minister Ben Wallace said the figures released on Thursday are "testament to the breadth of work undertaken by the police, Security Service and wider judicial system in identifying and stopping terrorism in our communities and bringing those responsible to justice".
He added: "The police and Security Service have been clear about the scale of the threat we face.
"We will continue to work with them and other agencies to ensure we have a broad response to all forms of terrorism both now and in the future."
Man married woman with severe head injury to improve immigration status
A man married a woman who had suffered a severe head injury when attacked and raped in a bid to improve his immigration status, a judge has concluded.
Mr Justice Baker has decided that the Islamic marriage was "arranged entirely" by the man and the woman's father.
He said a ceremony had taken place at a time when the woman was vulnerable to influence and has ruled that the marriage is not valid under English law.
The judge, who examined evidence at a hearing in a specialist court, also concluded that the woman's father had spent her money "for his own purposes" with no intention of repaying her.
Mr Justice Baker had analysed the case at a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, in London, and has outlined his conclusions in a written ruling.
The judge, who heard evidence from witnesses including medical specialists, a social worker, an Islamic law expert and the woman's father, said the woman could not be identified.
He said she had links to London and Northampton and said the marriage, solemnised by an imam, had taken place at the Northampton Islamic Centre.
Mr Justice Baker indicated that investigations had started after one of the woman's female relatives raised concerns about forced marriage.
"(The man's) primary motive for marrying (the woman) was to achieve an improved immigration status," said Mr Justice Baker in his ruling.
"(Her father) knew that this was his primary motive."
The judge said the woman's father's motives were "more difficult to discern" and added: "I conclude that he acted partly to assist (the man) in his immigration application but also because he thought it would be right for (the woman), and the family as a whole, for her to be married."
He said the marriage was "arranged entirely" by the man and the woman's father and that the woman was "unquestionably married under the influence of her father".
Former New Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw has said grooming gangs are a “cultural problem” and some Pakistani-heritage men view young white girls as “easy meat”, whilst insisting that Islam is not a factor.
Mr. Straw was Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001 – a time of activity for many of the grooming gangs so far discovered – overseeing an unprecedented increase in mass immigration and a continued shift towards politically correct culture within government.
“Jack Straw’s former advisor said Ministers intended to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’,” commented former UKIP leader Nigel Farage in response to Mr. Straw’s remarks Thursday, referring to the infamous admission of New Labour adviser Andrew Neather reported in 2009.
Mr. Neather revealed that Labour “deliberately” plotted to “open up the UK to mass migration” to help socially engineer a “truly multicultural” country.
Yet despite his long record in office, Mr. Straw appeared to echo the arguments of some of the political right, using words that could easily have him accused of a “hate crime” as he spoke on the BBC Daily Politics show.
He said: “It goes back some of the nature of Pakistani society in the villages where these people come from. It’s very complicated. Some people attribute it to Islam; that’s not the case at all.
“It’s a cultural problem about the way in which this particular segment of Pakistani men in this country happen to regard white girls… they see them as easy meat.”
Speaking of other scandals across the country, he added: “In Rotherham, you’ve had these terrible examples where social services and police really covered their eyes to what was going on with disastrous consequences.”
Also on the programme, Telford MP Lucy Allan said: “The grooming gangs are without doubt of Pakistani heritage in Telford.
“There have been 2 cases prosecuted where gangs of Pakistani men were sentenced for long periods of time for abuse of white working class girls.”
Mr. Straw made similar comments about grooming gangs in 2011, shortly after he left the Cabinet, sparking outrage in Westminster, after sparking protests (pictured, above) by Muslims in the North of England for criticising the full-face veil.
He argued that there was a “specific problem” in some areas of the country where men from the Pakistani community “target vulnerable young white girls”.
Mr. Straw was attacked by other Labour politicians, including Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, and Keith Vaz, then-chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Since 2011, dozens of grooming gangs have been exposed, including in Newcastle, Rochdale, Oxford, and Bristol. A study by Muslim think tank the Quilliam Foundation found that 84 per cent of those convicted are “Asian”.
A judge has praised the bravery of a girl after she spoke at the sentencing of the man who sexually abused her over a period of several years.
Ansar Mahmood, 37, of Withins Close, Little Horton, Bradford, was sentenced to 15 years in prison at Bradford Crown Court today after being found guilty of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault against a girl under the age of 13 at a trial in January.
The charges include eight counts, including rape and sexual touching. In some cases he forced himself on the girl in the back seat of his car. A judge said there was an element of grooming in the offending, and Mahmood had offered money to keep the girl silent.
His victim bravely spoke to the court before he was sentenced yesterday. She said the abuse caused her life to “fall out of control,” and that she found the process of giving evidence and dealing with police was “overwhelming.”
She said: “I have found it hard to make new friends. It has had an impact on my learning.
“When boys speak to me it makes me feel that all they want is sex. I think no one will ever really care for me, I don’t have any confidence. I’m trying to get back all the things he has taken away from me.
“My life has changed, it wasn’t his life to change, it was mine. I’m very angry for what he has done to me.
“I think of him walking around without a care while I am trapped in my thoughts, trapped in my memories.”
After she spoke, Recorder Anthony Hawks described her as a “very brave and remarkable young person.”
The court was told that Mahmood had no previous convictions, and was a “hard worker.”
He told Mahmood, through a Punjabi interpreter: “You sought to secure her silence with offers of money. When you were arrested you denied the offences, as you did throughout your trial and you have continued to allege that she lied about you. Nobody who has just heard the brave young person here today could fail to be moved by what she said. The effect on her life has been devastating.
“You have shown no remorse or acceptance of your behaviour. These were offences of upmost gravity, committed over a significant period of time. The victim may never be able to have a normal life after what you have done.”
He sentenced Mahmood to 15 years in prison, saying he would only be eligible for parole after 10 years. When he was released he will be deported. Detective Constable Emma Cheshire, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, thanked the victim for her “courage.”
“I also hope it will encourage other victims who have not yet come forward to engage with our officers. They will investigate every report sensitively and thoroughly to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “As the court heard from the victim’s incredibly brave testimony, Mahmood subjected her to years of horrific abuse.
“It is only through her courage in disclosing Mahmood’s depraved actions and giving evidence at trial that he has been brought to justice and is now behind bars.
“Child abuse has devastating and long-lasting effects on survivors’ lives. It is vital that the victim in this case receives all the support she needs, while we hope that Mahmood’s conviction and imprisonment encourages other survivors of abuse to come forward.”
A MAN who continued to have sex with a teenage girl despite being told by her mother that she was only 14 years old has been jailed for four years.
Mohammed Khalid, 33, bought cannabis and alcohol for the girl during their extended relationship, which lasted from around October 2016 to December last year.
He pleaded guilty to charges of sexual activity with a child and the supply of class B drugs, with the former relating to a period between April and December 2017, the time he was aware that his partner was underage.
Khalid’s relationship with the girl involved “repeated sexual activity” between the pair, with some of the offences said to have taken place in Bradford.
Prosecutor Kate Bisset told Bradford Crown Court that Khalid’s offending came to light when the girl’s family was spoken to as part of a police investigation into child sexual exploitation in the Huddersfield area.
On December 12, they visited his home and seized his phone, which the court heard contained messages with “repeated references” about their sexual relationship.
Miss Bisset said there were also some messages over concerns about the girl becoming pregnant, with mention made of her possibly needing to take the morning after pill.
The court heard that the girl’s mother had sent messages to Khalid’s phone in April and May, with the latter outlining her date of birth and age.
The court heard that the girl did not support the prosecution’s case against Khalid, but a victim impact statement from her mother said: “She stopped being close to me the way she was before. She treated me as the enemy and isolated herself from the family.”
Miss Bisset told the court: “By April the defendant knew the girl’s age but carried on a relationship regardless.”
After an argument towards the end of their relationship, the court heard that Khalid sent a message to the girl saying he would “f**k her up” if she reported him to the police.
Nadim Ahmed, defending, said Khalid had initially been “positively misled” about the girl’s age as her dating profile she had created had stated she was 18.
He said: “We don’t have corruption of a child in the classically understood definition of the term. By the time he became aware of her age the pair were emotionally committed to each other.”
Mr Ahmed said that late in their relationship, Khalid, of Heaton Road, Huddersfield, had tried to “diminish contact” with the girl, leading her to become upset and threaten to alert the authorities.
He said: “He (Khalid) was caught between a rock and a hard place. I don’t want to use the work abused, but he has been misled. This is a situation that has come knocking on his door.”
Recorder Tahir Khan QC acknowledged Khalid’s offending was different to many grooming cases in that he had “clearly been misled” as to the age of his victim, and had not used drugs or alcohol to lower her inhibitions.
He accepted that there was “a degree of emotional attachment” between Khalid and the girl at the point when her real age was revealed. but he went on: “The relationship continued for a number of months after you knew she was underage.”
Recorder Khan made Khalid the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told him he must register as a sex offender for an indefinite period.
Speaking after the sentencing, a spokesman from the NSPCC said: “Khalid’s victim has been through a horrific ordeal at the hands of this despicable predator.
“Child abuse has devastating and long-lasting effects on survivors’ lives and ongoing support is vital. We hope that Khalid’s conviction and imprisonment serves as a reminder that anyone who has been abused can have the confidence they will be listened to when they speak out, no matter how much time has passed.”
The number of sexual offences committed against children in Sadiq Khan’s London has soared to 1,200 in the last year, new figures show.
Statistics show the number of child sexual exploitation cases in 2017 had risen by 30 per cent on the previous year, the Evening Standardreports.
The figures were released on Friday, when the Metropolitan Police co-hosted a conference to raise awareness of the problem with children’s charity Barnardo’s, which has launched a pilot scheme to help child victims of rape and sexual exploitation.
“Children who have been sexually exploited can feel completely powerless, and being raped or sexually assaulted often causes debilitating levels of trauma,” said Jessica Juon, assistant director of children’s services at Barnardo’s London, explaining it is important to help victims feel safe.
Detective Superintendent Steve Ellen said the Met has been trying to improve how it records and recognises child sexual exploitation offences, but acknowledged that the figures could point to a rise in the number of crimes.
He said: “Child sexual exploitation is a real priority for us and we are getting better at looking for it and dealing with it and we are encouraging people to come forward.”
The Metropolitan Police claimed it had seen no evidence London was facing similar scandals to towns like Telford and Rotherham, where ‘politically correct’ police and authorities failed to act as hundreds of girls were raped, beaten and trafficked.
However, officers in London acknowledged they were “tackling child sexual exploitation linked to gangs and other issues such as County Lines drug dealing”, according to the Standard, which recalled police identifying a grooming gang targeting girls “as young at 13”, operating around a McDonald’s restaurant in Stratford last year.
Indeed, Scotland Yard was worse at safeguarding children at risk of child sexual exploitation and rape than it was 12 months earlier, according to a report published in November.
Described by sources at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services as the “most damning review” in the watchdog’s history, it revealed that Britain’s biggest police force failed to properly handle 90 per cent of child protection cases.
Challenged over the concerning report, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick claimed the issue of grooming gangs was hundreds of years of years old, and suggested the apparent increase in offences could be a result of “raised awareness”.
“I don’t think this was a phenomenon invented in the last few years – it really wasn’t – it has been part of our society for probably centuries and centuries and centuries,” she claimed.
Despite research showing that 84 per cent of CSE offenders are ‘Asian’ while the vast majority of victims are white, the Commissioner also appeared to reject the notion of any cultural or racial aspect to grooming gangs.