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Gloucestershire Business News

Counter Terrorism Policing launch new safeguarding website and advice line

Gloucestershire Constabulary is helping to raise awareness of the launch of the Counter Terrorism Policing's new ACT Early safeguarding website and advice line.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and social-isolation has seen a rise in teenagers spending more time online which can make young people more vulnerable to radicalisation and other forms of grooming.

Parents, friends and families can now get specialist support to stop their loved ones being drawn into harmful activities or groups, with the launch of ACT Early - a new dedicated safeguarding website and advice line from the specialists at Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP).

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.

Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: "We are seeing more young people being drawn towards terrorist activity.

"Last year, 12 children under the age of 18 were arrested in relation to terrorism offences, some as young as 14-years-old. That is a relatively new and worrying trend in the UK, because just a few years ago we were not seeing anyone that young amongst our casework.

"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 then advice and help can be found by visiting www.actearly.uk.

You can also call the national Police Prevent Advice Line confidentially on 0800 011 3764 and specially trained Prevent officers will listen carefully to your concerns.

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