Men with histories of sexual violence are ‘more likely to be terrorists‘ so police should monitor them, top lawyer claims

Men with histories of domestic violence should be monitored in the fight against terrorism, a leading lawyer has said.

Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor, said that violent behaviour towards women and girls was a ‘significant factor’ in whether or not someone was likely to develop extremist views.

He said he feared ‘radicalisers look for men’ who display such behaviour. Mr Afzal added that police needed to understand that ‘if you tackle violence against women and girls you can tackle all the other problems’.

Addressing an audience at Hay Festival on Friday, Mr Afzal said that monitoring those guilty of domestic abuse could help security services narrow down the list of high-risk terror suspects to monitor.

He explained: ‘There are something like 25,000 people who are on the radar of the security services and police in this country.

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‘We don’t have the resources any more. You have no idea what it takes to follow one person. But if we look for the signs, and one of them is their attitudes towards women… we will be in a much better place.’

Mr Afzal, who is currently an adviser to the Welsh government on violence against women, added: ‘The question I ask is: Why has it not been on the radar of policing, the state or the authorities? Why is this state finding it so difficult to appreciate a misogynistic background of so many of these people?’

The Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park attacks were all carried out by men with a history of domestic abuse.

Westminster Bridge attacker, Khalid Masood had a long criminal record with the mother of his two eldest children leaving him following ‘ongoing domestic abuse’. His second wife described him as ‘controlling and angry’ at the inquest into his victims.

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi also had a history of misogyny and violence against women.