The suspect, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, was held by counter-terrorism police on Wednesday linked him to Islamist extremism. Allegations against the ma include being part of a banned organisation, as well a receiving weapons training that constitutes preparing for an act of terrorism.
The arrest comes as Britain faces a potential increase in security awareness as the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban, as well as an increase in IS-K membership by disillusioned former Taliban members, could spread West.
Speaking of the severity of the risk the UK now faces, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp said last month that the UK faced “the greatest danger from terrorism since Islamic State was at its height.”
The rise of the Taliban, and the fact that some of its members are already turning to join the Islamic State – Khorasan group could provoke a rise in sympathy for the ideology.
With many terrorism-related events in Europe coming from so-called ‘homegrown’ suspects, the risk of an emboldened violent non-state actor turning operational are increasing.
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The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, consisting of advisors from the intelligence services, police and government, determines the current threat level in the UK.
Currently, it stands at ‘substantial’, which means an attack is highly likely.
This could be altered at any time depending on new intelligence, risk assessment and threat analysis.
With technology playing a vital part in communication, Governments across the globe have called for more authority for intelligence agencies to access encrypted messaging services.
Both Facebook, which owns Whatsapp, and Apple which also use end-to-end encryption have both challenged the notion of Government access to private data, with Tim Cook of Apple saying it would be ‘wrong’ for governments to force Apple to ‘build a back door’ into products.
With social media and instant messaging playing a part in the preparation and communication used by terrorists in the past to conduct horrific crimes, stopping small cells is becoming harder.
Terrorism is widely defined as criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked justified to them.
This means potential targets across the country are numerous and make preventing the act difficult, but not impossible.
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Just this month, the director-general of the Security Services, (MI5), stated that thirty-one late-stage attacks were foiled by intelligence officers over the last four years.
In a rare public appearance, Ken McCallum said: “We do face a consistent global struggle to defeat extremism and to guard against terrorism – this is a real problem.”
The situation is not solely restricted to Islamist ideology, with Mr McCallum concluding: “that number includes mainly Islamist attack plots but also a growing number of attack plots from right-wing terrorists.”