It comes amid a challenging environment for intelligence and law enforcement officials. According to the UK Home Office, a record 379 people were arrested on terrorism-related offenses in the past 12 months up to June, a 68% rise on the previous year.
The number of prisoners held for terrorism has also swelled by more than one-third to 204, with the vast majority made up of Islamists. Importantly, there have been 19 plots foiled since 2013, six since March — one a month, on average.

One reason for this upsurge in terrorist activity and arrests is the international environment. As early as June 2014, half of the casework of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, involved Britons who had traveled to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and other radical groups.

More recent data suggest that somewhere between one-half and three-quarters of the 850 Britons who have made that trip have since left the battlefield. This would still leave more than 200 fighters yet to return. As ISIS loses its grip of cities in Iraq and Syria and its so-called caliphate crumbles, the flow will increase across Europe.

Of these, only a small minority, 500 or so, are under active investigation, and an even smaller number under active surveillance.

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