Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland-terrorism 'increasing threat' to Britain

Dissident republican rally
Image caption The strategy says support for dissidents remains low but their attacks are increasing

The threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism to Great Britain has increased, the government's new counter-terrorism strategy says.

The strategy concentrates on international terrorism and potential threats to the Olympic Games.

Support for dissident republican terrorists in NI remains low, it says.

But it notes the frequency of attacks within Northern Ireland has increased significantly from 22 in 2009 to 40 in 2010, and 16 attacks so far this year.

It claims many more attacks have been successfully disrupted.

Whilst the level of the terrorist threat within Northern Ireland is rated as severe, in Great Britain the threat level is considered substantial, meaning there is a strong possibility of an attack.

The document says the number of terrorist-related arrests in Northern Ireland was 98% higher in 2010 than in 2009.

The arrests rose from 106 in 2009 to 210 in 2010. Those 316 arrests led to 97 charges between January 2009 and December 2010.

However the strategy document only lists nine convictions for terrorist offences over the same period.

It says the number of arrests for Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Great Britain over the same period was relatively small - dropping from six arrests in 2009 to one arrest in 2010.

One of the initiatives the government is considering for tackling terrorism is to allow post-charge questioning in cases where further substantial evidence emerges after charges have been brought.

The Home Office says it will work with the Stormont government to ensure any changes are compliant with the legal system in Northern Ireland.

The strategy states that significant additional funding has already been given to the PSNI to build its capabilities to investigate and disrupt terrorist attacks over the next four years.

It adds that a significant percentage of security service operational resources will remain devoted to Northern Ireland-related terrorism.

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