The government and police often use the “threat of terrorism” to induce fear – which leads to the justification of more draconian measures which further curtail civil liberties. In this piece, CAGE sheds light on the arrest statistics in relation to terrorism and the truth behind these statistics.
The Government, police and security agencies constantly use the “threat” of terrorism to increase their powers and further restrict liberties.
However, a careful look at the statistics released by the Home Office itself suffices to debunk warmongering claims.
1. 98% of the people arrested are detained for less than 7 days.
British anti-terror laws allow individuals to be detained and repeatedly interrogated for up to 14 days without charge. This is more than in any comparable Western democracy.
The Government has repeatedly attempted to extend this pre-charge detention to 28 days and even 42 days.
2. Only 32% of those arrested were eventually charged under anti-terrorism laws.
However, the impact of a raid and arrest is everlasting:
‘Andrew’, whose home in West London was raided spoke to CAGE giving an insight into how damaging raids can be:
“I’m a White British-born Muslim who grew up in the UK. In the 90s the UK was a cool place to live, but when I became a Muslim 6 years ago, I noticed a deterioration in how the British government treats the Muslims. Even though I haven’t been charged, the raid has traumatised my children, my wife and my in-laws; all of them needed medical attention after. Me and my family now intend to leave the UK as a direct result of the raids, because we don’t feel we can live a normal life here any more.”
3. Only 12% were actually prosecuted
This means that in the overwhelming majority of the cases the Crown Prosecution found there was not enough to provide a ‘realistic prospect of conviction’ against the defendant. It can also mean that prosecuting them would go against the public interest.
4. Only 6% were actually convicted on terrorism charges
This does not mean that they were convicted of a violent crime. Rather, the conviction can simply be related to the possession of an article or the refusal to answer questions at a British airport.
5. 84% of those convicted did not go to trial and pleaded guilty for a lesser sentence
Defendants often feel that they have no chance to receive a fair trial due to the islamophobic climate. In some cases, defendants have also reported being pressurised into a guilty plea. For example, they would accept to enter into a guilty plea to avoid a female relative being prosecuted.