The number of young Londoners being radicalised by extreme Right-wing material online and other terrorist ideology is “really on the rise”, Scotland Yard’s counter-terror chief has warned amid continuing fears about the risk of an attack in the capital.
Dominic Murphy said there had been a “startling” rise in the number of children in London becoming lured into terrorist activity with arrests now running at double the 20-year average.
He said the “uncomfortable” increase in child radicalisation was being driven by an online environment that was enabling young Londoners to consume a mix of toxic ideologies that were fuelling the terrorist threat.
But he said that although Islamist terror remained the biggest overall danger, extreme Right-wing ideas were dominant among young people.
The warning by Mr Murphy comes as police continue to appeal for public vigilance as concerns remain that the fallout from Hamas’s attack on Israel and the retaliatory offensive in Gaza could trigger an attack in London.
An attack in Paris in which one person was killed and two others injured by an assailant using a knife and a hammer, a foiled plot in Germany to target Jewish sites allegedly involving four suspected Hamas members, and three arrests in Denmark have all served to heighten such fears.
Mr Murphy said counter-terror police in London wanted tip-offs to help them prevent any atrocity but also highlighted the ongoing threat posed by the radicalisation of children in the capital.
“One of the things that’s startling over the last year or two is the volume of younger people involved in terrorism,” he said.
“Just recently we’ve arrested a 17-year-old boy in south London [on suspicion of] posting material supporting Hamas online, but that 17-year-old boy was one of a high number of young teenagers that are now coming into our casework.
“It’s uncomfortable having to consider the risk, harm and threat posed by such young people to the public in London. On average 27 children have been arrested per year since July 2020 — that’s more than double our 20-year average of children being arrested.”
Mr Murphy said the impact of extreme Right-wing radicalisation on the young was a particular worry.
“We are seeing Right-wing terrorism increasingly significant in younger people’s ideology, and of the 25 children arrested in the 12 months to June this year, 14 had extreme Right-wing terrorism views compared to nine for Islamist,” he said.
Source: The Standard