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Counter Terrorism Policing launch new safeguarding website and advice line

by Alison Cornmell

Knowsley Council is promoting Counter Terrorism Policing’s launch of ACT Early, a dedicated safeguarding website and advice line for parents, friends and families to get specialist support to stop their loved ones being radicalised.

The impact of Covid-19, social isolation and a rise in hateful extremism online is creating a ‘perfect storm’ which is making more young people vulnerable to forms of grooming by harmful groups.

This new resource will provide advice, guidance, and support for anyone who is concerned that someone they know may be at risk from being radicalised by terrorists or extremist content online.

Family and friends are best placed to spot the worrying behaviour changes which can indicate that a loved one is heading down a path towards terrorism, but currently just 2% of referrals into the Government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent come from that group of people.

“We are seeing more young people being drawn towards terrorist activity,” says the Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu.

“What concerns me most is this – there has been a sharp increase in extremist material online in the last few years, and Covid-19 has meant that vulnerable people are spending a lot more time isolated and online, and with fewer of the protective factors that schooling, employment, friends and family can provide.

“In my opinion that is a perfect storm, one which we cannot predict and that we might be feeling the effects of for many years to come.

“But I remain hopeful, because there is something we can do right now to try and stop this. It requires parents, friends and family to help us by acting early, by talking to their children about what they view online, and sharing their concerns and seeking support if they fear someone they know is in danger of being radicalised.

“Asking for help 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 Actearly.uk.  You won’t be wasting our time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.

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.