Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan police, drew parallels between far-right groups and figures and the Islamist extremists they claim to despise in the annual Colin Cramphorn memorial lecture in central London.
Speaking two weeks before his 31-year career in policing comes to a close, Rowley revealed four extreme rightwing-inspired plots were prevented last year.
In a conference with journalists before the speech, Rowley said the far-right terror threat was “significant and concerning” and the public should be “gravely concerned” by the existence of National Action, the white supremacist, neo-nazi group banned under terror legislation.
“The rightwing threat was not previously organised. Every now and then there’s been an individual motivated by that rhetoric who has committed a terrorist act but we’ve not had an organised rightwing threat like we do now,” he said.
He said a third of referrals to the government’s Prevent strategy, aimed at reducing radicalisation in communities, are now individuals engaged with far-right terrorism.
In his speech, Rowley draws many comparisons between Islamist and far-right groups and figures, such as Isis and Anjem Choudary in the former, and National Action and former EDL leader Tommy Robinson in the latter.