By Kelly Woodward
Arrests for terrorism-related offences fell by a fifth this year in Britain – but a warning’s been issued that the risk is “very much real in Yorkshire”.
There were 255 arrests in the 12 months up to September, compared to 317 the previous year. However, numbers are still relatively high when compared to recent years.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Marks Burns-Williamson said: “Our North East Terrorism Unit are constantly on the case with preventing radicalisation and extremism but, as you know from the murder of Jo Cox, terrorism is very much real in Yorkshire.”
The figures, released by the Home Office, did not include any regional breakdowns but Mr Burns-Williamson said Yorkshire still had a “fairly balanced” number of terrorism-related activities when compared with last year.
Nationally, there were 67 trials completed by the Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division in the year ending September 2016.
Of these, 91% led to a conviction and the number of people receiving longer sentences increased compared with the previous year, with those receiving between four and 10 years increasing from eight to 25 and the number of life sentences given increasing from one to nine.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I urge the people of Leeds and Yorkshire to stay vigilant in their community and neighbourhood.
“Hopefully we can stop and prevent extremism incidents by reporting any suspicious activity.”
As at 30 September 2016, there were 178 people in custody for terrorism-related offences and domestic extremism or separatism, up from 170 in the previous year.
West Yorkshire Police urge the people of Leeds to report any suspicious activity by phoning the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321, but if the threat is immediate call 999.