The assistant commissioner Neil Basu has said that 70 to 80 percent of those who wanted to attack the UK were British born or raised, which he said strongly indicated that domestic social issues were among the root causes of extremism.
He said: "That has got to tell us something about our society - that we have got to look at why they would be prepared to do that.
"I want good academics, good sociologists, good criminologists to be telling us exactly why that is."
Dr Antony McRoy, a Christian and an academic in Islamic Studies, told Premier he disagrees with Mr Basu's analysis of the situation: "I think it's just madness to say that it comes down to the fact that there aren't opportunities for people in this country. Everyone in this country has the same opportunities before the laws as everyone else.
"I think the problem is his analysis of why this is happening.
"The only answer to violent extremism is increasing police activity, increasing intelligence activity. The only other thing that could work is a change in policy amongst western government but obviously governments cannot allow terrorism in any way to influence their policies.
"As Christians, we have a community, the worldwide Church and our loyalties are to Jesus. Muslims are part of a worldwide community as well, and so when Muslims in Britain see Muslims elsewhere suffering, their reaction is 'that is what's happening to us', because they identify with their suffering brothers and sisters. I think this is something that he (Mr Basu) didn't address at all."
Mr Basu is Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer and has said boosts to the police and security services are no longer enough to win the fight against violent extremism.
He said home-grown terrorists were being recruited as a result of a lack of social mobility and inclusion, and that policing deals with the symptoms of extremism but not the root cause.
Speaking of terrorist attacks he said: "We are dealing with the symptom and we do need to deal with the root causes of it."
Both Islamist and extreme right wing terrorists have continued to recruit Britons, despite efforts to stop that.
"Nothing I am saying remotely excuses these heinous acts of criminal violence," Basu said. "But the deeper causes need examining. My teams are world class at stopping attacks and locking terrorists up. But we need to stop the flow of recruits into terrorism."
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