London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Counter-terror chief reveals ‘real threat’ of school terror plots

Counter-terror chief reveals ‘real threat’ of school terror plots

Police stopped ‘eight late-stage terror plots’ in the past year
Officers have been forced to step in and stop the “real threat” of teenagers plotting US-style attacks on schools, the head of counter-terrorism policing has revealed.

Matt Jukes said there are growing numbers of reports of children fixated on coverage of mass shootings, with more young men – and boys as young as 13 – coming to police attention as potential terrorist threats of all kinds.

He also said police had made several “close calls” by foiling terror plots at the last minute in 2022. These “goal-line saves” were made when would-be attackers had already picked targets and were gathering weapons.

Speaking at a Scotland Yard briefing on Thursday, Jukes said: “We have absolutely seen cases in which we have intervened with young people to prevent them going on, potentially, to carry out attacks in their schools.

“How confident are we at each point that those attacks will materialise? Well, how fine a judgment do you want to make on those points? But it is not a notional threat. It is a real threat which we have seen in individual cases and, absolutely, intervened and dealt with individual cases.”

He added police hadstopped “eight late-stage terror plots” in the last year. “And the reality is that a number of those were close calls, I would describe several of them as goal-line saves,” he said. “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.”

Jukes said the number of reports from people with concerns about the potential of a young person to go on and commit an attack at school was numbered in the “hundreds, not thousands”. But he said the upwards trend in reports was still a concern.

“I think that has been driven by the visibility of attacks in the US. We know that’s the case. It is the glorification of those events which have taken place, which goes to some of the other points about other cultures – whether that’s incel or otherwise. And it makes it really toxic mix.”

He told reporters a concerning online culture had grown online in recent years. “That is exhibited in a prevalence of misogyny, racism, antisemitism, homophobia. And, clearly, all of that gets mixed in with terrorist ideologies. We’re seeing a relatively small number, but increasing number, of references to incel culture, and to school massacres.”

Incel, a portmanteau of the term involuntarily celibate, ideology is part of a misogynistic subculture – mainly among young men – that has become of increasing concern to counter-terrorism officers. It has been linked to violent attacks in the UK and elsewhere in recent years.

The domestic threat comes amid a huge increase in Scotland Yard’s work countering threats from hostile foreign powers, as well as in other areas, counter-terror officers said.

Jukes said the number of investigations into hostile state threats had “quadrupled” in the last two years, describing it as “unprecedented” and saying it marked a “really significant shift” in focus for teams primarily working on terror investigations.

“Missions outside of terrorism” now account for around 20% of casework after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to tackle state threats, espionage and investigate war crimes, he said.

He added: “We are shifting, in part, our focus from an exclusive attention to the terrorist threat to a really significant shift in focus on the threat from foreign states. For counter-terrorism policing, that means, at present, that around 20% of our casework is focused on missions outside terrorism. That means countering state threats, investigating war crimes and working with MI5 and other partners to address espionage.”

The number of investigations focused on state threats has “quadrupled in recent years”, he said, though he stressed that this referred to “dozens” of cases over the last two years, not “hundreds”.

But he stressed how “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 investigations.

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”. Jukes said that number now stands at 15.
Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
Plus-Sized Miss Alabama Sara Milliken Responds to Online Critics
Nigel Farage's Return Boosts Support for Reform UK Party
Labour Party to Pledge Recognition of Palestinian State in Election Manifesto
British Paratroopers Greeted by French Customs After D-Day Anniversary Airdrop
UK Statistics Watchdog Chief Urges Sunak to Clarify Labour Tax Claim Source
UK Conservatives Promise to Restore Child Benefit for Higher Earners
×