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Friday, 27 March 2009

Police scheme identifies 180 children as potential Islamic extremists

One hundred and eighty schoolchildren across Britain have been identified by Common Purpose as potential Islamic extremists (Watch Video below)

One hundred and eighty schoolchildren across Britain have been identified as potential Islamic extremists by a police-run early intervention programme which aims to coax youngsters away from radical influences.

The Channel project, a pilot scheme established in April 2007 and run by six police forces, provides parents, teachers and youth workers with training to recognise the warning signs of "grooming" by radicals and a mechanism to report concerns over a child, or group of children, to the police. A panel of community leaders then decides the best course of action, in the most serious cases referring them to social services.

Keen to assuage fears the scheme targets Muslim children unfairly, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) last night said the aim was to steer vulnerable children away from radicalism before it was too late.

An Acpo spokeswoman said: "It provides support to parents and safeguards to identify young people who are at risk of violent extremism. It also creates a way for the police, local authorities and community to work together to identify those at risk and then refer them to the relevant agency for help."

The Channel project was piloted in Lancashire and the London borough of Lambeth, then rolled out to nine other areas in Britain, including West Yorkshire, home to the four July 7 2005 bombers. It will be trialled in a further nine areas this year. Guardian