News Brief – December 20, 2010
British police arrested twelve men early Monday on suspicion of plotting a large-scale terror attack.
The men, aged between 17 and 28, were detained in raids across the country “on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK,” the West Midlands Police force said in a statement.
Echoing earlier comments from the head of MI5 about “intelligence led operations”, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, the officer in charge of counterterrorism said: “This is a large scale, pre-planned and intelligence-led operation involving several forces.
“The operation is in its early stages so we are unable to go into detail at this time about the suspected offences.”
The commissioner emphasised that the operation was necessary “in order to ensure public safety.”
However, it should be remembered that in the aftermath of other previous anti-terror raids virtually all those detained have been released, often without charge.
As other observers have noted: the object of the raids seems more to maintain heightened public anxiety over the prospect of terror rather than to protect the public.
In that light we will monitor this case as it unfolds.