CT POLICING CALL ON PARENTS TO ‘ACT EARLY’ THIS CHRISTMAS OVER ANY SIGNS OF GROOMING
Counter Terrorism Policing has urged parents and carers to be aware of the risks of online grooming as young people spend more time at home and online over the Christmas holidays.
With children now out of school for at least the next two weeks and students home from universities, along with extra Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in place across the country, senior officers have warned that extremist radicalisers will be looking to exploit any anger and anxieties they have and potentially lead them down a path towards terrorism.
Recent Home Office statistics showed that more than half (54%) of referrals to the counter-terrorism Prevent safeguarding programme were for people 20 years old or younger, while there have also been increases in the number of children arrested for terrorist offences and the amount of extremist propaganda reported online.
The National Coordinator Prevent, Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, therefore appealed to parents and carers to be aware of what to look out for by using the new ACT Early website, which provides essential advice and information.
Chief Superintendent Adams said:
“The Christmas holidays are here but we know this won’t be a normal festive season for any family. Due to Covid-19, young people will be spending more time out of education, at home, often alone and online. You may also be getting them new devices for Christmas which might cause them to spend even more time on the internet.
“Most of what they are doing will be entirely safe and of course the internet can be a great help in keeping people connected in these difficult times. But we know that radicalisers have been pushing more conspiracy theories and extremist messages online this year, including on gaming and social media platforms, hoping to exploit young people’s anxieties and groom them into terrorist beliefs.
“So I would encourage all parents and carers to be more mindful what your children are looking at and who they are talking to online. And to be more aware of what the signs of radicalisation to look out for are.
“I know that having those conversations can be difficult. However help is at hand if you go to www.actearly.uk where you can find information and advice about what to look out for, and what to do if you do have a concern that someone close to you might be going down a path of dangerous extremism.
“If you do need more assistance we can also provide you with voluntary, confidential, professional support. Asking for help for someone you love is a difficult and emotional step, but we must see it for what it is – action which won’t ruin their lives but may well save them.”
If you are worried that someone you know is being radicalised, visit www.actearly.uk
www.actearly.uk is aimed at and written for the friends and families of those who might be at risk of being drawn into terrorism or violent extremism. It contains advice on what to look out for, including animated films; information on how the Prevent safeguarding programme works and the partners we work with; and access to further support for those who need it.
For help and advice visit www.actearly.uk, or call the national Police Prevent Advice Line on 0800 011 3764, in confidence, and our specially trained Prevent officers will listen carefully to your concerns.
If you have seen material online which you are concerned could be terrorist or extremist, please report it at www.gov.uk/ACT
ACT early and don't leave it too late.
Action Counters Terrorism