Four men from Stoke-on-Trent have been arrested as part of a counter terrorism operation across the UK this morning seeing 12 men arrested.
The men ““ five from Cardiff, four from Stoke and three from London ““ were detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism in the UK (Terrorism Act 2000) during a number of raids across the UK by unarmed officers at 5am this morning.
The operation is being led by DAC Stuart Osborne Senior National Coordinator Terrorist Investigations, and coordinated from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. It also involves the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, South Wales Police and Staffordshire Police.
The 4 men from Stoke-on-trent were arrested at or near their home addresses, with the exception of one suspect who was at a domestic property in Birmingham.
Searches are now being conducted at the home addresses, plus the address in Birmingham and another residence in London.
The men arrested are
- Male aged 28 from Cardiff
- Male aged 26 from Cardiff
- Male aged 25 from Cardiff
- Male aged 24 from Cardiff
- Male aged 23 from Cardiff
- Male aged 19 from Stoke-on-Trent
- Male aged 26 from Stoke-on-Trent
- Male aged 26 from Stoke-on-Trent
- Male ages 25 from Stoke-on-Trent
- Male aged 20 from London
- Male aged 28 from London
- Male aged 17 from London
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. However, I believe it was necessary at this time to take action in order to ensure public safety.
Officers from the local NPU are highly visible in the area of the raids to reassure local residents and flyers with information to keep residents informed are being handed out.
At 18:30 Chief Superintendent Bernie O’Reilly, Stoke on Trent Divisional Commander issued the following statement
This afternoon we met with community leaders following today’s early morning raids which took place as part of a national, pre-planned counter terrorism operation.
The meeting was called to help us understand local community concerns and to offer support and reassurance to people in the area following the arrest of 12 men in Stoke-on-Trent, South Wales and London, on suspicion of terrorism offences.
We only act against individuals about whom there is reasonable suspicion that they may be engaged in criminal acts. All communities want to feel safe and be safe.
We work hard on a daily basis to maintain the strong community relations we have here in Stoke-on-Trent and we do not take those relations for granted.
Throughout the day, local neighbourhood officers have been in the Stoke-on-Trent area talking with residents. Officers have also delivered a series of information leaflets.
In recent months, communities in our city have been affected by a number of significant incidents,, not connected with today’s events, and cohesion has been tested. However we are determined to continue to develop the trust we’ve built as we work to keep our communities safe and reassured.
I want to take this opportunity to re-assure everyone that police are absolutely committed to thoroughly investigating those incidents and to do everything we can to ensure offenders are brought to justice.
Finally, can I thank local people for their patience and understanding and urge residents to engage with their local community police officers who are in the area to offer support and reassurance.