More than one in 10 terror suspects arrested in Britain is a child, figures reveal amid mounting concerns over online radicalization.
The head of counter-terror policing previously warned of a “new and worrying trend” of teenagers as young as 14 being investigated. Neil Basu says the coronavirus pandemic has created a “perfect storm” in which children are spending more unsupervised time online while extremist material is spreading.
Senior officers have raised concerns that restrictions have made the signs of radicalization harder to spot by teachers, social workers and mental health services.
Britain’s youngest-known terror offender was sentenced in February after recruiting members for a neo-Nazi group.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 13 when he committed his first offence and became part of an international online network of far-Right extremists.
He admitted 12 terror offences, including the dissemination and possession of documents on making explosives, guns and weapons.
Since the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017, there have been 12 terror attacks in England that killed 39 people in total.
In the same period, 29 plots have been foiled – 18 by jihadists, 10 by right-wing extremists and one classed as left-wing, anarchist or single-issue terrorism.