Police are warning parents and carers to keep an eye out for signs of radicalisation during the school summer holiday.

This appeal comes after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said that he has seen “a record number of children being arrested recently for Terrorism Act offences”.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have warned that radicalisation can often come from consuming extremist material found online.

Around one-third of all referrals received from Prevent, a counter-terrorism program which tries to prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into extremism, come from teachers and those working in education.

Police are asking for parents and careers to be vigilant as the summer holidays get into their full swing and young people have more free time to spend online.

After an assessment, many referrals to Prevent do not result in any further police action.

In some cases, other organisations such as health, mental health, housing or education step in to provide support to the referee.

Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan, London Prevent co-ordinator, said: “Young people will have a lot more free time in the coming weeks and for a lot of young people, this will involve spending more time online.

“The causes of radicalisation are complex and varied, and it can occur suddenly and quickly. “Extremist material found online is often a common factor.

“This is part of the reason why we are renewing calls for parents and carers to be aware of the signs of radicalisation, and act early if they see any concerning behaviour.

“It could be that a young person is becoming less tolerant of other people’s views, or they are secretive about who they are speaking to.

“If you have concerns about someone, contact the ACT Early Support Line.

“This is about seeking help early to divert vulnerable people away from a path which often leads to entrenched extremist views that can result in terrorism or other crime.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We know that uncertainty and hardship can create fertile breeding grounds for hatred and division as extremists take the opportunity to prey on the vulnerable.

“With the growing cost of living crisis and especially during the summer when schools are closed and young people spend more time online, I worry that extremists are using this period to promote hate and conspiracy theories on social media.

“We’ve seen a record number of children being arrested recently for Terrorism Act offences and that’s why it’s so important for friends and family to act on any signs that their children may be being radicalised.

“I am committed to working closely with our police and grassroot community groups through my shared endeavour fund to ensure we do everything to counter extremism for our most vulnerable.

“That includes making sure young Londoners are able to engage in positive activities and programmes which strengthen our communities against extremism and the vile ideologies which seek to divide us.”

If you are worried about someone, you can visit the ACT early website or the support line on 0800 011 3764 to speak to trained officers.

The support line is open between 9am and 5pm every day and calls outside these hours will be transferred to counter-terrorism officers.

In an emergency, always call 999.

Extreme online content can be reported anonymously via https://www.gov.uk/report-terrorism

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