Four right-wing terror plots foiled last year according to police chief

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Four right-wing terror plots foiled last year according to police chief

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said the threat was 'organised' and 'significant' from extremist far groups

Police stopping anti-fascist protesters from clashing with far-right National Action members 

Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Police stopping anti-fascist protesters from clashing with far-right National Action members Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Four extreme right-wing attack plots were foiled last year, Britain’s most senior counter-terror officer has revealed.

Disclosing the figure for the first time, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley described the threat from far-right terrorism as “organised” and “significant”.

He warned the overall terror threat is “considerable” with over 600 investigations encompassing Islamist, extreme right-wing and other motivations at any one time.

The probes are focusing on more than 3,000 subjects of interest, while security agencies must also keep at least 20,000 individuals who have previously featured in inquiries under review.

In a lecture on Monday, Mr Rowley said: “A deeply concerning characteristic is how both far-right and also Islamist terrorism are growing, allowing each side to reaffirm their grievances and justify their actions.”

As well as five attacks that hit Britain last year, police and MI5 intervened to disrupt an unprecedented number of suspected plots.

Ten conspiracies of an Islamist nature have been stopped since the Westminster attack in March last year, Mr Rowley said.

He added that a further four extreme right-wing inspired plots were prevented.

The figures are not routinely disclosed but Mr Rowley said it was important to make them public in order to “illustrate the growth of right-wing terrorism”.

Speaking to the media prior to his speech, the senior officer said: “The right-wing terrorist threat is more significant and more challenging than perhaps the public debate gives it credit for.”

Pointing to a shift in the nature of the threat, he added: “Right-wing terrorism wasn’t previously organised here.”

He declined to give details of the four cases for legal reasons but said they “reflect a combination of the organised and the individual”.

His remarks underline the authorities’ mounting concern over the far-right threat, which was laid bare in the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June 2016 and the Finsbury Park attack a year later.

In December 2016, National Action – which Mr Rowley described as a “homegrown, white supremacist, neo-Nazi terrorist organisation”- became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws.

MI5 has been given an increased role in the response to domestic extremism, including far-right threats, which police have historically led on.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: