British police identify 200 children as potential terrorists

March 29th, 2009 - 3:19 am ICT by IANS  

London, March 29 (IANS) Two hundred school children in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police survey that aims to spot youngsters who are “vulnerable” to terrorism, Geo TV reported Saturday.
The number was revealed to a British daily by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain’s chief officer in charge of terror prevention.

He said the “Channel project” had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children, who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago. The number has risen from 10 children identified in June 2008.

The programme, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, asks teachers, parents and other community figures to be vigilant for signs that may indicate an attraction to extreme views or susceptibility to being “groomed” by radicalisers.

The Channel project was initially started in Lancashire, but in February last year it was extended to West Yorkshire, the Midlands, Bedfordshire and South Wales. Due to its success, there are now plans to roll it out to the rest of London, Thames Valley, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and West Sussex.

The scheme, funded by the Home Office, involves officers working alongside Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who are at risk of radicalisation or who have shown an interest in extremist material - on the internet or in books.

Once identified the children are subject to a “programme of intervention tailored to the needs of the individual”. Norman said this could involve discussions with family, outreach workers or the local imam, but he added that “a handful have had intervention directly by the police”.

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