Extremists who are unable to reach the Middle East to fight for so-called Islamic State (IS) may carry out attacks in the UK instead, the Director of Public Prosecutions warned.
Alison Saunders said the authorities needed to be “very aware” of the risk posed by the individuals who focus on actions in Britain, either plotting attacks or radicalising others.
It has emerged there have been 109 convictions in the UK for Iraq and Syria-related terrorism, and 85% of the people involved had never set foot in either of the countries, according to the BBC.
Ms Saunders told the BBC:
“We need to be acutely aware that if people can’t go to Syria (…) They may plan an attack here instead or they may to more to radicalise other people to attack.”
She also added that it may mean the “type of prosecutions” seen over the last few years may have to change.
The analysis shows the youngest offender was a then 14-year-old from Blackburn, Lancashire, who was convicted in 2015 after taking on the role of “organiser and adviser” to an alleged Australian jihadist in a plan to murder police officers in Melbourne on Anzac Day.
Those convicted come from a wide cross-section of society and include former prisoners, a hospital director and the son of a police officer, the BBC said.
Married couples, siblings and a mother of six have also been prosecuted and of the 109 people convicted, 18 (16%) were female.