Counter Terror Policing North East urge friends and family to report radicalisation concerns

Date published: 19 November 2021 22:20
Dated: 19 November 2021 22:17:13

Counter Terrorism Policing North East is urging parents, friends and family to be aware of the risks of online radicalisation and how to get help if they are concerned someone they know is affected.

The call follows a national drop in the number of Prevent referrals made to police, highlighted in the latest Home Office figures released yesterday (Thursday, November 18). (Home Office Figures Link)

The figures also show that 25% of Prevent referrals relate to Extreme Right Wing Terrorism and the largest proportion of Prevent referrals are in relation to people aged 15-to-20.

Detective Superintendent Matthew Davison, Regional Prevent Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said: “We’ve seen a reduction in Prevent referrals across the country as a result of the pandemic. Lockdown made it more difficult for young and vulnerable people to access support services and significantly reduced contact with those most likely to recognise the early signs of radicalisation.

“Sadly, we are seeing an increasing number of young people being drawn into terrorism. Now, more than ever, young people are spending more time online, where they are exposed to a greater risk of radicalisation by those groups looking to exploit uncertainty and attract new followers. This was particularly true during the height of the pandemic, when a loss of contact with close friends, teachers and mentors drove people to online platforms as one of the few ways they could connect with others.

“The latest Prevent figures show that 29% of all Prevent referrals relate to the under-20’s. While it’s natural to assume that those in our care are safe when they’re at home, sadly, that’s not always the case.

“We’re asking parents, friends and family to be aware of what their loved ones are looking at online and, if necessary, to seek advice and support at an early stage. You won’t be wasting our time by sharing your worries or doubts. The earlier we know of your concerns, the sooner we can act to protect those you care about and to prevent them from being drawn too far down a path of violent extremism or terrorism.

“If you’re worried about someone you know, please visit the ACT Early website for more information, or call the national Prevent advice line in confidence on 0800 011 3764 to speak with our specially trained officers.”

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