UK’s far-right may exploit Brexit: Counter-terror chief

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal</p> <p>LONDON (AA) – The far-right groups in Britain will exploit tensions caused by Brexit, head of the country’s counter-terrorism policing said on Wednesday.</p> <p>Speaking to The Guardian, Neil Basu said he was concerned that &quot;far right wing rhetoric from those lawfully allowed to operate will fuel tensions.&quot;</p> <p>“My concern is the polarisation, and I fear the far-right politicking and rhetoric leads to a rise in hate crime and a rise in disorder,” Basu said.</p> <p>He said he was seeing an increase in far-right activity from small but vocal groups as the Brexit uncertainties continue.</p> <p>“I am concerned about a small number of individuals trying to make a name for themselves such as Tommy Robinson,” he told The Guardian.</p> <p>Tommy Robinson, or Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon with his birth name, is the founder of extreme right-wing and Islamophobic group the English Defence League (EDL).</p> <p>“It [Brexit] generates a permissive atmosphere to people who want to take their argument to more extreme levels,” he said.</p> <p>The counter-terrorism policing chief said indicators used by police to measure how communities are feeling were already showing some rise in tensions.</p> <p><br>

  • Hate crime

“We are monitoring if the intelligence suggests public order difficulties because of Brexit,” Basu said.

“So far it is not. We are planning for it, because it is sensible to plan for it. That potential exists,” he added.

Hate crimes recorded by the U.K. authorities rose more than a double over the past five years, according to latest figures from the Home Office.

Police in England and Wales recorded 17 percent more hate crime offenses with 94,098 cases from April 2017 to March 2018.

The rise represents an increase of 123 percent since 2012-13, during which 42,255 hate crimes were recorded.

The Home Office confirmed the increase came following several events “such as the EU referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017.”

Basu also warned that the damage from a no-deal Brexit to policing and security could be serious. “It is a very serious flaw in our security arrangements,” he said.

“If we have no-deal Brexit, and we could not share that information, and if we lose access to those systems, it will inevitably make the U.K. and Europe less safe than it is today,” he added.

The U.K. is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.