UK - Counter terror police have seen rise in ‘lone actors’ carrying out attacks

Police have seen a rise in lone actors carrying out attacks and more young people being drawn into terrorism over the last five years.

Since the wave of terror attacks in the UK in 2017, Assistant Commissioner Matt Jukes, head of Counter Terrorism Policing, said “most significantly” officers have seen a rise in the threat from “self-initiated terrorists”, commonly described as lone actors, as opposed to cells of terrorists being directed to act.

There is also growing concern about the number of children being drawn into extreme right-wing terrorism.

Typically British nationals based in the UK, “self-initiated terrorists” are considered “unpredictable” due to being influenced by a variety of ideologies which makes the threat “harder to identify, to detect and to stop”.

While they carry out their attack alone, they “take a good deal of their inspiration from online content and are sometimes in contact with others” and often use “readily accessible” weapons such as vehicles or knives.

There is a picture here of young people who are spending a great deal of time discussing and sharing and exchanging material online. But we are absolutely seeing some of that shift to plans to carry out terrorist attacks.

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