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- British authorities have stopped four far-right terror attacks in the last year.
- The UK’s outgoing head of counter-terrorism policing has warned of the growing danger of the far-right.
- “For the first time we have a home-grown proscribed white-supremacist neo-Nazi terror group,” Mark Rowley said.
The threat of far-right terrorism in the UK is growing and British authorities have foiled four terror plots in the last year, a retiring senior police officer has warned.
Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the UK’s head of counter-terrorism policing, said in a speech at think tank Policy Exchange on Monday that the threat from the far-right in Britain is “of grave concern,” and it is becoming increasingly organised.
“For the first time we have a home-grown proscribed white-supremacist neo-Nazi terror group, which seeks to plan attacks and build international networks,” he said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “You will agree this is a matter of grave concern.”
He also made comparisons between the far-right and the threat of Islamist terrorism: “Ironically, while Islamist and Extreme Right Wing ideologies may appear to be at opposing ends of the argument it is evident that they both have a great deal in common.
“I think it important to expose some of what we see as extremists systematically and determinedly trying to undermine a peaceful, tolerant and democratic society.”
He added: “Islamist and right wing extremism is reaching into our communities through sophisticated propaganda and subversive strategies creating and exploiting vulnerabilities that can ultimately lead to acts of violence and terrorism.”
Far-right leaders Tommy Robinson and Jayda Fransen – neither of whom have been accused of terror offenses – were accused by Rowley of producing “extremist rhetoric with the common goal of increasing tensions and divisions in communities.”
British law enforcement currently has more than 600 terrorism investigations underway across the spectrum (Islamism, the far-right, and others), with more than 3,000 subjects of interest.
“10 conspiracies of an Islamist nature were stopped since the Westminster attack,” Rowley said, referring to the March 2017 terror attack in London that left 6 dead.
“And I can tell you today that over that same period police have been able to prevent a further four extreme right wing inspired plots in the UK.
“It is important we make these figures public in order to illustrate the growth of right wing terrorism.”
In February 2019, Darren Osborne was sentenced to life in prison after driving a van into a group of Muslims outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, North London, killing one person and injuring nine others. The judge said Osborne was “rapidly radicalised over the internet by those determined to spread hatred of Muslims.”