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MAKE FASCIST EXTREMISM & EXPRESSION ILLEGAL

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UK counter-terrorism: Lockdown is fuelling online extremist recruitment

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 6:30 PM  

Far-right extremism is on the rise in the UK

The coronavirus lockdown in England is not only impacting on the nation’s mental health but it is now claimed it could even potentially pose a threat to national security.

According to a senior counter-terrorism officer, the second lockdown in England is exposing young people to online grooming by “extremists”.

Superintendent Matthew Davison, who works in Counter Terrorism Policing, has drawn a direct connection between the restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and the dissemination of “hate” and “disinformation” by extremists on online platforms.

In a briefing to the media, Supt Davison, who is the regional Prevent coordinator in north-east England, claimed that young people are being targeted “in their bedrooms”.

Prevent – which seeks to pre-empt terrorist actions well before they take shape – is one of the central elements of the British government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

According to Davison, referrals to Prevent have declined during the pandemic.

He attributed the drop in referrals to young people staying away from educational institutions due to coronavirus restrictions, notably the lockdown.

Traditionally, higher education institutions, and especially universities, have provided the bulk of Prevent referrals.  

Davison said that Counter Terrorism Policing is “really concerned” about extremists making “proactive plans” to reach into people’s homes with a view to winning the “hearts and minds” of young people.  

“They’re [extremists] monitoring the migration of young people, particularly on different platforms, and targeted [sic] them with all sorts of propaganda with a view to recruiting them”, Davison added.

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