The 1,600 estimate could be even higher as some will have slipped through the net
Indeed even as the new figure emerged today news was also breaking that a family of six are feared to have left their home in Slough, Berkshire, to travel to Syria.
Police said dad Asif Malik, mother Sara Kiran, and four children aged from one to seven, were seen boarding ferry from Dover to Calais, before moving south through Europe.
Relatives raised the alarm as they said they never mentioned going on holiday.
Foreign intelligence officials have claimed police predictions of just 700 Britons leaving to join jihadists may have been announced to “control public fear” of the scale of the crisis.
Alarmingly, out of the revised figure of 1,600 about 500 are believed to have returned to the UK, raising fears of a terror plot on British soil.
Asif Malik, Sara Kiran and their four children are thought to have fled to Syria, police said today
We are still seeing at least about five people leaving the UK for Syria and Iraq every week – and that’s not to count the ones we don’t know about
Some of the numbers include families, and 100 are jihadi brides who have fled to Syria to marry fighters.
“We are still seeing at least about five people leaving the UK for Syria and Iraq every week – and that’s not to count the ones we don’t know about,” a foreign intelligence official told the Sunday Times.
Last month the Metropolitan police commissioner told the Commons home affairs committee that at least 700 Britons had travelled to Syria.
Intelligence officials claimed the number of Britons who have gone abroad to join extremists may have been kept at a more modest figure to reduce the public fear.
Sally Jones is believed to have travelled from Kent to Syria to lead jihadi extremists
“It is not in the interest of the police to publicly discuss the exact extent of the numbers of British people who have cone to Syria and Iraq because they want to be able to manage people’s fears in relation to the growing problem.
“But they especially don’t want to be seen as having less control than they do have about stopping travelling jihadists.”
The news of the full extent of British jihadists comes as the Metropolitan Police review security plans for First World War commemorative events.