The number of far-right terror convicts in prison has risen to a record high in a new sign of the rising threat posed by neo-Nazi and similar forms of extremism, official figures revealed on Thursday.
The new total was eight higher than the equivalent figure 12 months earlier and represents a huge leap on the four far-right inmates recorded in March 2016.
The figures – which also show that most terror convicts jailed last year will be released within the next decade – will heighten concern about the increased numbers of Britons being drawn into far-right extremism.
Police have previously expressed fears about the influence of toxic social media content on vulnerable young men in particular and today’s figures show that significant numbers of teenagers are continuing to be arrested.
They reveal that 24 suspects aged 17 or under were held over the past 12 months on suspicion of terror-related offending inspired by Islamist, far-right or other ideologies. Another 25 suspects were arrested who were aged between 18 and 20.
Despite the rise in far-right inmates, Islamists, who accounted for two thirds of the 232 terrorist prisoners held at the end of March, still form the bulk of the terrorists held in custody.
Thursday’s figures also show that 41 terrorist prisoners were released from custody over the past year and that most of the 49 people convicted of terror-related offences last year will be released within the next decade.
The sentences handed down to them included 15 people given sentences of between one and four years and five handed terms of less than 12 months. Only one life term was imposed, while there were two other sentences of 10 years or more.
Source: Evening Standard