Police have said the fastest-growing threat of terrorist violence in the UK is from the far right, with seven of the 22 plots to cause mass casualties since March 2017 being driven by extreme rightwing ideology.
They said referrals to anti-radicalisation programmes of those feared to be at risk of committing far-right terrorist acts had doubled between 2016 and 2018, and were expected to rise further.
In a briefing to the media, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer, the Met assistant commissioner Neil Basu, said police were battling to stop extreme rightwing terrorism gaining more of a foothold than it already had.
He said: “The problem is small but it is my fastest-growing problem.” Basu said extreme rightwing terrorism had gone from 6% of the caseload two years ago to 10% now.
Some were incited by far-right propaganda, such as Thomas Mair, who murdered the Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016. But others, such as Darren Osborne, who attacked Muslim worshippers with a van in north London, had acted after consuming lawful material from groups such as the English Defence League and mainstream media.
Basu said: “When nearly a third of plots foiled by police and security
services relate to rightwing ideology, it lays bare why we are taking
this threat so seriously.”
The remainder were jihadist, which remains the biggest terrorist threat to the UK and has stabilised at a very high level after years of growth.
Far-right terrorism has drawn in some as young as 14 and has links to extremistm overseas, police said.
Police said rightwing extremists had been using guides on how to kill developed by Islamic State.
Weapons involved in plots, or which rightwing terrorists wanted to get hold of, included knives, explosives and firearms.