Scotland Yard’s senior counter-terrorism officer reported that British authorities prevented almost two dozen attacks since March of 2017, several more than previously reported.
Seven related to “suspected right wing terrorism,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told a conference on international terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, which means that 15 of them weren’t.
Basu promoted the merits of “Prevent,” a British counter-terrorism program involving several government agencies, including social services, which is designed to spot and deter people who might be vulnerable to recruitment or indoctrination by violent radicals.
“Prevent is designed to break the cycle of extremist violence by empowering communities and individuals – to make them resilient to radicalisers and able to spot the vulnerable that radicalisers target and manipulate.”
“A recent study showed that in the time before most lone-actor attacks, someone close to them knew about their growing ideology and violent intent. Mostly they chose not to report it.”
Potential threats that most concern British officers include returning foreign fighters, lone actors, mentally ill people and a “rising threat” of right-wing terrorism.
Unsaid was that the foreign fighters category includes those returning from fighting for Islamic State.
In March 2017, in an attack police said was motivated by Islamist extremism, a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and then fatally stabbed a police officer. Later that year, there were three other attacks police described as terrorism, including one on Muslim worshippers near a London mosque.
He added that research by Spanish experts using MRI technology found that people with extremist views were “more likely to be moved to violence when they felt excluded.” The lesson was that “effective social integration could help stop extremist violence.”