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Since 2017, fifteen terrorist attacks have been committed on UK soil. But these successful attacks are only the tip of a vast iceberg. Security services are striving to contain a staggering 3,000 jihadists, far-right extremists and other potential threats. We are in a new age of terror, with self-radicalising, hard-to-categorise individuals planning violence—but each one caught by the British state tells us something about British society.
For every successful plot in the six years since Westminster Bridge, more than twice as many have been foiled. Some were thwarted by nerve-wracking undercover operations; others were narrowly averted by heroic citizens or the failed efforts of would-be attackers. Invariably, the all-too-human stories of these failed terrorists reveal the true picture of UK extremism.
Through interviews with senior counter-terror figures and astonishing court testimony, Plotters unpacks how and why British terror attacks happen—and don’t. From dating websites and prison cells to Telegram networks and Tesco knives, Lizzie Dearden’s deep dive offers one disturbing certainty: the plotters will keep coming. To confront them, we need to understand them.
Lizzie Dearden is The Independent’s Home Affairs Editor. She has been covering terror attacks, prosecutions and extremism of all kinds in the UK, in depth, since 2017. Lizzie is also a long-term observer of global terrorism trends; she previously reported on Isis-inspired attacks in Europe and elsewhere.
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