The number of suspected far-right extremists referred to the Government’s key anti-terror programme soared by 30 per cent in the past year, The Independent has learnt.
The dramatic rise can be revealed after Muslim worshippers were mowed down outside a north London mosque in the early hours of Monday morning by a man driving a van in what police described as a terrorist attack.
The suspect has been named as 47-year-old Darren Osborne, a father-of-four from Cardiff, who was arrested on suspicion of terror offences and attempted murder and remains in custody.
One man died at the scene and a further 11 were injured, but the attacker was not previously known to security services. Eyewitnesses claimed he shouted: “I’m going to kill all Muslims,” before making “taunting” gestures and laughing.
Theresa May said the attack was “every bit as sickening” as the recent Islamist terror attacks on Manchester and London and promised to stamp out extremist ideologies of all kinds.
The Government’s counter-terror Prevent scheme – championed by the Prime Minister during her time as Home Secretary – has been criticised amid claims it has focused disproportionately on Islamic terrorism.
But just under a third of all people being monitored under the Channel programme in 2016/17– part of the Prevent terror prevention scheme – believe in extreme right-wing ideologies and are vulnerable to radicalisation, according to unpublished Home Office figures. The figure rose from 25 per cent in 2015/16.
The spike in cases comes a year after MP Jo Cox was murdered by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair and follows a dramatic rise in the number of hate crimes reported against black and minority ethnic groups and religions.
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said a lack of government action to tackle the rise of the extreme far-right has produced a “better climate” for attacks to occur.
“While all the rhetoric from the…