Britain Detains More Than 56,000 as Suspected Terrorists in 2012

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 09:22 AM

By Robert Brothers

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Statistics from the Home Office show that 56,257 people were stopped under counterterrorism powers last year in the United Kingdom, according to a recent report in The Guardian.

Over 50,000 people were stopped and questioned at British ports and airports as potential terrorists and were examined under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The act allows for individuals to be questioned for up to nine hours without the need for a “reasonable suspicion” that they are involved in terrorism.

In all, 249 people were arrested in relation to counterterrorism operations from 2012 to 2013, a 21 percent increase from the previous year. Of the 249 people arrested, 105 were eventually released with no further action taken against them.

The report also states that 2,297 people have been arrested in Britain on suspicion of terrorism offenses since September 2001, following the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Officials classify 1,941 of the 2,297 arrests as international terrorism, 258 as domestic, and 175 as Northern Ireland-related.

The rise is most likely due to the security operations surrounding the London Olympics last summer. However, according to the Home Office, the number varies each year depending on those held in particular operations, The Guardian reports.

A separate Home Office report on the use of counterterrorism powers notes that the religious background of those charged and convicted does not show that Muslims receive heavier sentences because of their beliefs.

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