Boy, 13, arrested on suspicion of terror offence in London

Arrest comes amid ‘worrying increase in the number of teenagers being drawn into terrorism’

<p> (James Manning/PA)</p>

(James Manning/PA)

A 13-year-old boy has become one of the youngest alleged terror offenders ever arrested in the UK.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was detained in west London on Tuesday.

The Metropolitan Police said he was arrested on suspicion of disseminating terrorist material.

A spokesperson added: “The investigation relates to the alleged sharing of extreme Islamist material online.

“Officers will work closely with partners from safeguarding agencies as the investigation continues.”

The boy has been released on bail as the investigation continues. It comes amid a “worrying increase” in the number of children accused of committing terror offences.

A record 11 per cent of all terror arrests in the UK were of child suspects aged under 18 in 2021.

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’. Please contact us so that we might be able to get that person the help they need.”

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