Fastest-growing terrorist threat to the UK comes from far-right, Met police claim

A view of New Scotland Yard office in London. Photograph: NurPhoto/PA.

A view of New Scotland Yard office in London. Photograph: NurPhoto/PA. - Credit: NurPhoto/PA Images

Police have claimed that the 'fastest-growing' threat of terrorist violence in the UK comes from the far-right.

Britain's top counter-terrorism officer, the Met's assistant commissioner Neil Basu claimed that while the issue was "small", it is the Met's "fastest-growing problem".

The UK head of counter-terrorism Neil Basu said seven of the 22 plots foiled since March 2017 have been linked to far-right ideologies.

About 10% of more than 800 live terror investigations were linked to right-wing terrorism while the government's controversial Prevent programme has seen referrals nearly doubling since 2015/16 to 18%.

"Despite the increases, right-wing terrorism remains a relatively small percentage of our overall demand, but when nearly a third of the plots foiled by police and security services since 2017 relate to right-wing ideology, it lays bare why we are taking this so seriously," he said.

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"As a proportion of our overall threat it's definitely increasing, whereas the Islamist threat is staying the same, albeit at a very high level."

Basu said counter-terror police and the security services have disrupted right-wing plots "designed to kill people".

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Methods have mimicked those seen in jihadist plots, including knife attacks and trying to create improvised explosive devices, while some have used Islamic State materials, he told reporters.

Basu said the National Action group has been "decimated" since it was banned in December 2016, with small groups or individuals now operating across international borders online.

"The lone actor threat is the biggest problem," he said.

Basu said young people and those with mental health issues are particularly vulnerable to becoming radicalised, with children as young as 14 linked to right-wing terrorism.

He said: "We are bringing the full might of the UK counter-terrorism machine to bear against those extremists of any ideology who wish to do us harm or incite violence. And that is evident not only in the number of plots we have foiled, but also the number of convictions we have achieved and continue to chase through the courts."

Basu said the biggest threat still comes from Islamist and jihadist terrorists.

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