CSSC – Counter Terrorism Week Update

Thursday 26 November: Online Radicalisation

Today we are focusing on the danger that vulnerable people face from online radicalisation.

Please join Detective 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, log on to @Policechiefs or https://twitter.com/PoliceChiefs and follow #CounterTerrorismUK.

Please also take a moment to watch the new video clip highlighting the dangers of online radicalisation.

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 in, and the extent to which, 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.

The police are active in tackling online radicalisation with 10,000s of extremist websites being removed by the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) reducing the amount of this material available on the internet. 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 radicalisers 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.

During CT Awareness Week we are reminding the public that if you come across any content online that you are concerned about you can refer it to http://www.gov.uk/report-terrorism or to the social media platforms themselves.


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 http://www.preventragedies.co.uk for information and resources in a range of languages.

Another useful online resource is Let’s Talk About It. It is an initiative 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.

In an emergency call 999
For non emergencies call 101
For the Anti Terrorist Hotline call 0800 789 321

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