Right wing ideologies ‘growing concern’ among young people
Counter Terrorism Policing has said that as many as 19 children were arrested on suspicion of extreme right wing terrorism last year, with a 13-year-old being the youngest person detained.
There were 186 terror-related arrests in the year to 31 December, with under-18s accounting for 20 arrests.
The total number of arrests in 2021 was one per cent lower than the previous 12 months, with police having foiled 32 late-stage terror attacks across the UK since 2017. Officers disrupted four late-stage terror plots last year, with three related to extreme right wing terrorism.
Counter Terrorism Policing say that extreme right wing terrorism in online communities is of increasing concern, as many videos produced by terrorist and right wing groups ‘pick up on the tropes of first-person shooter games’ and present something ‘very attractive’ to vulnerable youths who spend a lot of time gaming.
Speaking to reporters at New Scotland Yard, Matt Jukes, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner for specialist operations, said: “There is a picture here of young people spending a great deal of time discussing, sharing and exchanging material online; we are absolutely seeing some of that shift to plans to carry out terrorist attacks. It’s a real concern that we continue to see so many young people in our case work.”
Jukes said counter terrorism officers have seen a rise in younger ‘self-initiated terrorists’, unsophisticated operators who arm themselves with ‘readily available’ weapons, such as vehicle or knives.