The public are being reminded about the dangers young people can face online following today’s (Thursday, September 9) sentencing of two teenagers for sharing terrorist material online.
Following an investigation by Counter Terrorism Policing North East, a 15 year old boy from Derbyshire pleaded guilty in June 2021 to the following offences:
- One count of encouraging terrorism – Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006
- One count of dissemination of a terrorist publication – Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006
- One count of possession of a terrorist publication – Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000
He has been sentenced to a two-year Youth Rehabilitation Order and three-year Criminal Behaviour Order. He has been released from custody.
A second boy, a 16 year old from South East London, also pleaded guilty in June 2021 to one count under Section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006. He has been sentenced to a 12-month Intensive Referral Order and ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £22 court surcharge.
The pair were arrested in September 2020 following a pre-planned, intelligence led investigation.
Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden is Head of CTP North East and says it is important for families, friends and organisations to be aware of the risks online, know the signs of radicalisation and know where to turn for the right help and support.
“It is important that we all work together to safeguard young people from the threat of radicalisation. If we don’t recognise the signs early enough they may go on to commit very serious offences as we’ve seen in this case. Encouraging terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications are not victimless crimes and the impact of these offences can be far reaching. The spread of extremist material has the potential to threaten the safety of our communities and may even motivate others.
“This case is one of an increasing number we have seen involving young people in the extreme right wing terrorism space. It is of huge concern for the police and our partners.
“We are seeing a growth in children being targeted and radicalised by right wing extremists online – including through multi-player online gaming, social media and chat forums.
“We know that children and teenagers want to spend time online. This is a way for them to communicate with friends, assist with homework or just catch up on what is going on in the world. The internet can be a great tool but we have to be alive to the risk it can pose and know that it is a platform for extremists to spread hate and exploit others.
“The ACT Early website provides information about signs to look out for when someone may be getting drawn into extremism and online security. The site also signposts people to support, who to contact if you are worried about a loved one and what help is out there.
“Our research shows that family and friends are best placed to spot the signs that someone might be vulnerable to radicalisation. We want them to ACT early so their vulnerable friend or loved one can get the support they need before the situation escalates into something more serious.”
Trust your instincts. Act early. If you’re worried that someone you know is being radicalised, visit actearly.uk for more information.