Counter-terror police foiled EIGHT atrocities in Britain last year

Counter-terror police foiled EIGHT ‘close call’ atrocities in Britain last year as agents are forced to spend more time countering Russian threats after Ukraine invasion, chief admits

  • Eight terrorist atrocities were foiled in Britain last year, a police chief said 
  • Matt Jukes said several of the threats were ‘close calls’ and ‘goal line saves’ 

Britain’s counter-terrorism forces foiled eight attempted atrocities last year, a police chief has said, as security services devote more time to countering threats from Russia.  

Matt Jukes, head of counter-terrorism policing, said several terror plots foiled at the last minute in 2022 were ‘close calls’.

He said would-be attackers had picked targets and were gathering weapons when they were caught. 

Speaking at a briefing at Scotland Yard on Thursday, Mr Jukes said: ‘Last year we stopped eight late-stage terror plots. 

‘And the reality is that a number of those were close calls, I would describe several of them as goal-line saves. 

Matt Jukes, head of counter-terrorism policing, said several terror plots foiled at the last minute in 2022 were ‘close calls’

Security services have begun to focus more on threats posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia

‘These are cases in which a subject had identified their target, had or was acquiring their weapon and where we have intervened to stop that attack taking place.’ 

He added that ‘missions outside of terrorism’ now account for around 20 per cent of casework in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to tackle state threats, espionage and probe war crimes.

Mr Jukes described the workload as ‘unprecedented’ and said it marked a ‘really significant shift’ in focus for teams primarily working on terror probes.

The terror threat in the UK ‘feels a very enduring one’, he said, adding that it had changed over time and ‘evolved’, to now include ‘many more self-initiated terrorists than it had in the past.’ 

‘This is making the threat harder to spot, it’s making the individuals harder to stop,’ he added. 

There are more than 800 live investigations and police have seen calls to the anti-terrorism hotline increase in the last year. 

(File Photo) Eight terrorist atrocities were prevented in the UK last year, Mr Jukes told a Scotland Yard briefing

Mr Jukes said the number of investigations focused on state threats has ‘quadrupled in recent years’, adding that this referred to ‘dozens’ of cases over the last two years, not ‘hundreds’.  

He said ‘scores’ of officers could be working on hostile state threats because of the ‘intensity’ of the investigations, adding that the nature of the cases was ‘palpably different’ from terror probes. 

Last year, the boss of MI5 laid bare the ‘very real threat’ posted by hostile states and set out in stark language the dangers from Russia, China and Iran. 

The security agency’s director general Ken McCallum revealed in a speech in November that there had been at least 10 potential plots since January last year by Iranian intelligence services to kidnap or kill British or ‘UK-based’ people considered ‘enemies of the regime’. Mr Jukes said that number now stands at 15. 

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