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25 children arrested under-18s in the 12 months to September, majorly on far-right terror philosophy
A record number of UK children were arrested on suspicion of terror crimes in the last year by the figure released by the Home Office. The number was an increase from accounted 17 children arrests on terror offenses the previous year.
Figures released by the Home Office showed that 25 arrests of children under-18s in the 12 months to September, the majority in relation to far-right terror philosophy, according to The Guardian report.
Amongst the arrested, children under 18 years of age accounted for 13% of all terror arrests last year, a rise from 8%.
In February a 13-year-old neo-Nazi from Cornwall was found guilty of possessing bomb-making manuals and disseminating far-right materials online. The Guardian reported that Last week a 17-year-old from Derbyshire was charged with possessing and sharing a terrorist publication and would be tried in 2022.
The Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police and the senior national coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing (CTP), Dean Haydon, said that they were very concerned that children are becoming an increasing proportion of their terrorism arrests.
The UK terror threat level was raised to severe last month
The UK terror threat level was raised to severe, after an explosion outside Liverpool Women’s Hospital last month – an indication that a terror attack is highly likely
A taxi driver survived the blast but his passenger was killed when the homemade bomb exploded on Remembrance Sunday, just before 11:00 GMT.
Having confirmed rise in the threat of extreme right-wing terrorism over the last five to 10 years, with a high prevalence of teenagers, earlier this year, MI5 head Ken McCallum said agents were investigating teenagers as young as 13.
He said: “It is already the case that in quite a range of our investigations, we do sadly see teenagers, minors, under the age of 18, some under the age of 16, presenting sharp risk.”
Mr Haydon said that the UK police, security and intelligence services are doing everything in their power to combat terrorists’ attacks as the UK faced, according to BBC report, what he described as a “sustained and high-tempo threat”
Late-stage terror plots foiled in the UK since the pandemic – Counter Terror Policing
The arrests come at a time UK Counter Terror Policing said that seven late-stage terror plots had been foiled in the UK since the pandemic began.
The latest figures take the total number of thwarted late-stage terrorism attacks in the UK over the last four years to 32. It is an increase of one since September.
UK terror crime investigators have linked to the shutdown of schools during the early stages of the pandemic.
The Investigators highlighted that the pandemic-related school closures had impacted educational settings, distorting children’s normal behaviour, while schools regularly report cases of concern to Prevent, the government’s deradicalisation programme.
They also hinted that lockdowns loneliness and the ease with which young people with time on their hands can seek out extremist material online when not being supervised are also factors driving the rise in numbers
The police investigators believe that some extremists are using COVID-19 conspiracy theories and online gaming channels as a means of recruitment of children into terrorism.
At the same time, while increasing arrests on children, restrictions on socializing and movement helped push down the number of adult terrorism arrests by 13%, reflecting wider lockdown-related falls in crime.
UK Police wants parents’ care, trust and support to in anti-terrorism fight
UK police officers said they wanted parents to be more aware of the risks and to be prepared to call in Prevent Programme in case of any suspicion, which few currently do.
“Our research tells us that parents, family members and friends are the first to see the changes in behaviour which might indicate that a loved one is being radicalized,” The Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dean Haydon, said. He further said that 3% of people they help through Prevent Programme come to the programme because of concerns raised by those same people who know them best and are aware of the risk.
The senior national coordinator for Counter-Terrorism Policing (CTP) advised parents and other family members to seek support and advice from the Act Early scheme if they fear a child could be following a dangerous pathway directed towards extremism.
“Ideally we would identify when a young person is being led down the path towards terrorism activity and use the Prevent programme to try and put them on a different path,” he said.
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