Olympics: Police are trying to arrest as many suspected terrorists as possible to 'clear the decks' before the Olympics, one of Britain's top QCs said today
Arrests: Expert David Anderson QC, pictured, has said that police are acting earlier to 'clear the decks' of potential terrorists before London 2012
David Anderson, the UK's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, says the security services are 'defending further up the field' to avoid any 7/7 or 9/11-style attacks when London hosts the Games later this month. 'What one may be seeing as the Olympics approach is a willingness to try and clear the decks in some respects,' Mr Anderson told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme. 'We're a long way from zero risk, we probably always will be, but the police are getting to hear about things long before they used to and I think that gives them choices which perhaps they didn't have before. 'Do they let things run, just keeping an eye on it, picking up evidence with a view to a criminal prosecution? Or do they move in earlier to disrupt it? 'The Olympics are potentially a major target and you are seeing the police, perhaps in a marginal case what they might do is decide to intervene a little bit earlier.' Some 14 suspected terrorists were arrested last week, but he added: 'We shouldn't lose sight of the big picture, which is that things were a good deal worse six or seven years ago than they are now.'
Meanwhile detectives have been granted more time to question a 22-year-old woman over a suspected terror plot in the UK.
Officers from Scotland Yard's counter terrorism command now have until Friday to hold and grill the woman, who was arrested in Hackney, east London, on Saturday.
Danger: Police and MI5 are vigilantly trying to stop terrorists targeting the Olympic Park and other venues
Five men arrested last week in connection with the same plot, including British Muslim convert Richard Dart, can also be held until Thursday after Westminster magistrates granted a series of warrants of further detention, police said. A seventh person held in the raids, a 30-year-old woman, was released without charge on Saturday. Dart, 29, who changed his name to Salahuddin al-Britani after converting, was one of the six people arrested over the suspected terror plot last Thursday.
Allegations: British Muslim convert Richard Dart, now Salahuddin Al Britani, is one of six arrested last week over an alleged terror plot
He is believed to have been one of three people detained in Ealing, west London, and was arrested in the street. He appeared in a BBC Three documentary, My Brother The Islamist, made by his stepbrother Robb Leech last year, which described how Dart, originally from Weymouth, Dorset, had been converted by controversial cleric Anjem Choudary. In the documentary he spoke of his support for jihad and sharia law. The others detained in Ealing were a 21-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman held at separate home addresses. The woman has since been released without charge. Three men living just over a mile from the Olympic site in Stratford, east London, were also arrested. The men, aged 18, 24 and 26, who are believed to be members of the same Bangladeshi family, were detained in a raid on their home. The six, who include a former police community support officer, remain in custody at a south-east London police station on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. The alleged plan involved Islamist extremists with potential targets in the UK, but was not linked to the Olympics, it is understood. The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently rated substantial - the third highest of five levels.