Number of young people arrested for terrorism offences hits record high | Counter Terrorism Policing

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Number of young people arrested for terrorism offences hits record high

The latest data released by the Home Office shows that 2023 saw the highest number of terrorism arrests of young people since records began (11 September 2001).

Of the 219 arrests for terrorism related offences last year 19 percent (42) of these were young people aged 17 and under.

As a result of this Counter Terrorism Policing are once again appealing to the public to take action and report any concerns they have about family and friends who are being radicalised by harmful content.

Acting Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing Richard Smith, said:

Met Police Commander Richard Smith briefing media

Met Police Commander Richard Smith briefing media

“We take no pleasure from the increasing numbers of young people we’re seeing in our investigations and casework.

“Whilst our role is to stop anyone – no matter their age – committing terrorism offences or planning to cause harm to the public, it is truly shocking that almost one in every five of our arrests involves a young person.

“For several years now, we have warned about the risk of children and young people who are becoming involved in terrorism-related activity and the statistics released yesterday reaffirm our concerns.

“Young people susceptible to radicalisation need protection and support to prevent them being drawn into terrorism. I implore parents and guardians to pay close attention to the young people in their lives and look out for the signs that they may be viewing, sharing or even creating terrorist content.”

In 2023 there were 52 more arrests for terrorism offences than in the previous year which is an increase of 31 percent and the highest number of arrests in a single year since 2019.

From Jacob Graham who wanted to kill 50 people in a bombing campaign, to Mohamed Al Bared who was building a drone for Daesh, 2023 saw a wide variety of terrorism related arrests.

Richard Smith continued:

Max Balegde with Head of Counter Terrorism Policing Matt Jukes

“Last year we arrested more people for terrorism offences than we have done in any of the four years previously.

 We are working at pace, day and night, to keep the public safe.

“The role of the public in our mission to the keep people safe cannot be underestimated. Please trust your instincts and report anything that doesn’t feel right.

“Reporting won’t ruin lives, but it could save them.”

Last summer, Counter Terrorism Policing worked with Manchester Arena attack survivor and Gen Z influencer Max Balegde to launch a campaign of action aimed at young people.

For the first time ever Max told his personal story about the arena attack as part of the campaign which aims to encourage vigilance and empower young people to report anything that doesn’t feel right.

If you’re concerned that someone might be taking a dangerous path, then seek support via ACT Early.

You can also report suspicious activity by contacting the police in confidence on 0800 789 321.

Family and friends know when something’s not right. Please ACT Early.