Just 13% of terror arrests lead to conviction

By Ian Dunt

Only 13 per cent of those arrested under Britain;s anti-terror laws end up being convicted of the offence, the Home Office has admitted.

The government insists the figure is comparable to that for other crimes.

The figures relate to arrests since the September 11th attacks.

Only 44 per cent of the 1,471 suspects arrested were charged, and just 102 people were eventually convicted of terror offences.

Ninety-four were convicted of terror-related charges.

The main offences for which suspects were charged under terrorism legislation were:  possession of an article for terrorist purposes, membership of a proscribed organisation, and fundraising- all of which are offences under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Of those arrested under the Terrorism Act, 46 per cent were held in pre-charge detention for under a day, and 66 per cent for under two days. 

The Liberal Democrats said today’s figures highlighted the need to use intercepot eivdence in court – a key proposal of civil liberty group Liberty.

The party’s home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “These figures show that not all of those tarnished with the brush of terrorism are terrorists.

“Instead of trying to hold innocent people for even longer without charge, the government should give top priority to making intercept evidence admissible in court in terrorist cases.”
There are currently 125 terrorist prisoners in England and Wales, 62 per cent of which are UK nationals.

The figures will provide succour to civil liberties groups who argue that terror laws are being over-used.

They also partially validate the concerns of Muslim groups, who highlight the counter-productive effect of heavy handed policing in Muslim communities.