The latest EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) reveals the number of jihadist terrorists being arrested “sharply increased” in 2016 – but their prison terms are only getting shorter.Prepared by Europol, the bloc’s supra-national law enforcement agency, the report says member-states logged 718 jihadist arrests in 2016; up from 687 in 2015 and 395 in 2014.
It claims that, “of 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks” reported by eight EU members, the greatest number were carried out by what it describes as “ethno-nationalist and separatist extremists” (99), with “left-wing violent extremists” in second-place (27).
However, it concedes that jihadist terrorism claimed the most actual victims, and the “vast majority” of court verdicts associated with terrorism “were pronounced in relation to jihadist terrorism” – suggesting that the threat from “ethno-nationalists” is overstated in the headline figures.
Court data also shows that the average prison sentence for terrorist offences in the EU fell to just 5 years in 2016; down from 7 in 2015.
The number of terrorists handed sentences of 10 years or longer decreased to 12 per cent; down from 20 per cent in 2015.
Europol has released its data just as Home Office statistics show terror arrests in Britain are at their highest since records began being kept in 2001, right after the September 11th attacks.
Its latest statistical bulletin states that “The year ending March 2017 saw the highest number of terrorism-related arrests (304) in any financial year on record since the data collection began in September 2001, an increase of 18% compared with 258 arrests in the previous year.”
The bulletin notes that this “includes the 12 arrests made in connection with the attack on Westminster Bridge and Westminster Palace on 22 March 2017,” in which convert Khalid Masood ran down a number of people before leaping from his vehicle and stabbing a police constable to death.
However, the figures do not include the dozens of arrests made after the Manchester Arena suicide bombing or the vehicle-and-knife attack on London Bridge and Borough Market.