More than 500 would-be terrorists have received support through a £3 million-a-year Government scheme designed to protect people at risk from radicalisation, a report has revealed.
The multi-agency programme - known as Channel - identifies people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and develops a support plan for the vulnerable individuals concerned.
Nearly 2,500 people were referred to Channel between January 2007 and December 2012 - of whom about 500 were offered support, the Government's first annual report on the UK's strategy for countering terrorism said.
The figures came as Charles Farr, director general of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism, warned the threat from al Qaida allies such as al Qaida in the Maghreb in North Africa has heightened in the last year.
The report also revealed that al Qaida affiliates including the Taliban have pocketed 60 million US dollars (£40 million) in kidnapping ransom payments since 2008.
But Mr Farr also warned that counter-terrorism was not "immune" from funding cuts.
Discussing the growing threat from Syria, North Africa and the potential impact of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next year, Mr Farr said: "We're in a potentially key moment. The threat has dispersed and diversified to the point where it might require more resources, because we're having to spread those resources across a wider geographical area."
There were 1,274 people referred to the Channel programme between January 2011 and December 2012, of whom 243 people received support.
The people referred to Channel vary in age, but schoolchildren have been supported by the initiative, Mr Farr said.
Among the cases covered by the programme was an Asian man convicted of burglary who expressed anti-Western views in jail and was known to have viewed extremist videos online. After a Channel-backed intervention, the man returned to education and re-established contact with his family. Mr Farr said: "I really believe Channel is an essential part of our counter-terrorism."