Anti-terror police arrest 13-year-old schoolboy on suspicion of sharing extreme Islamist material online
A schoolboy aged just 13 has been arrested in west London on suspicion of being Britain’s youngest jihadi.
The child was detained by police investigating the sharing of extreme Islamist material online.
Experts from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command arrested him in west London on Tuesday on suspicion of dissemination of terrorist material.
He was detained under PACE, and was taken into custody. He has been bailed to a date in mid-June.
A PACE warrant to search the address was obtained by officers. This has been carried out.
Officers will work closely with partners from safeguarding agencies as the investigation continues.
Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command Richard Smith said youth of suspect was rare
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: ‘While it is still very rare for such a young person to be arrested for a terrorism offence, in recent times we have seen a worrying increase in the number of teenagers being drawn into terrorism.
‘This particular investigation remains ongoing, but more broadly, we work closely with a whole range of partners to try and protect and divert young, vulnerable people away from extremism and terrorism.
‘The public have an important part to play in this, and we would urge anyone who thinks a friend or relative is becoming radicalised or drawn into a path towards terrorism to ‘ACT Early’.
The investigation relates to the alleged sharing of extreme Islamist material online (stock pic)
Please contact us so that we might be able to get that person the help they need.’
The investigation relates to the alleged sharing of extreme Islamist material online.
Police saw the number of terrorism arrests for all age groups except children fall during the pandemic, and in the year to March 2021, 13% of suspects arrested for terrorism offences were aged under 18, compared to 5% the previous year.
Authorities fear that the increase in time spent online while Covid-19 restrictions were in force left more children vulnerable to being radicalised.