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1. Question Time Live with Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Southern from West Midlands Police
Today we are focusing on the danger that vulnerable people face from online radicalisation.
Please join Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Southern from West Midlands Police in our webchat today where she will be answering questions about the dangers of online radicalisation.
The webchat will take place at 10.00am
2. Online radicalisation uncovered
Used in the right way, the internet provides entertainment, connectivity and interaction for millions of people across the world. However, terrorist groups have also recognised the power of this medium and are increasingly reaching out to young people using the web as a tool for recruitment and radicalisation.
This is of huge concern as we know that young people are heavily influenced by the content they see online - and particularly social media. A national survey of 11-24 year olds conducted by the National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ has highlighted this. It shows that many young people obtain information from Google and social media sites including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The internet has transformed the way that terrorist organisations can influence and radicalise people. It enables groups such as ISIL to reach a larger global audience, with broader and dynamic messages. This means that vulnerable people can easily be exposed to extremist materials that are easily accessible online, and radicalised by extremist views.
It is also important to be aware that vulnerable people may have online conversations with others that seek to radicalise them and who aim to take them into the less open online space to discuss issues such as, how to prepare for and travel to Syria and how to carry out attacks on the public in the UK.
Tackling extremist content on the internet is vital in countering the terrorist narrative and stopping offences that incite terrorism. There is considerable effort going into removing extremist material from the internet.
3. Fact and Figures: The true picture
The police are active in tackling online radicalisation and many extremist websites are removed by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU). The availability of this type of material on the internet is being reduced all the time and with large increases in referrals from the public, more and more sites will be taken down in the future. The internet provides a discreet opportunity for extremists to target young, vulnerable individuals within their own homes which means the work of the CTIRU is crucially important in the fight against terrorism.
During an average week, the CTIRU is removing over 1,000 pieces of content that breach terrorism legislation. Approximately 800 of these are Syria and Iraq related and have been posted on multiple platforms.
In the last 12 months (to the end of June 2015) around 38,889 internet takedowns were undertaken by the CTIRU reducing extremist material available on the Internet. That is over 100,000 since the unit was set up in 2010. Much of this has been achieved by forming working relationships with key social media outlets.
4. To counter online radicalisation we need you
During CT Awareness Week we are reminding the public to report suspected online terrorist activity or material to www.gov.uk/report-terrorism or to the social media platforms themselves.
5. Further support and expertise
There is a wide range of help and advice available online if you are concerned that someone you know is showing signs of being radicalised. You can visit www.preventragedies.co.uk for information and resources in a range of languages.
Let’s Talk About It is a useful online resource designed to provide practical help and guidance to all communities in order to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
You can call your local police or ring 101 for access to support and guidance.
Please also take a moment to watch the new clips highlighting the dangers of online radicalisation from the National Head of Online Extremism Sue Southern.
It may be nothing, but if you see or hear anything that could be terrorist-related trust your instincts and call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.