The counter-terrorism police said 19 children were arrested on suspicion of extreme right-wing (XRW) terrorism last year, when a 13-year-old was the youngest detained.
Officers made 186 terror-related arrests in the year to December 31, with under 18s making 20 arrests. Metropolitan Police said a suspect was linked to Islamist extremism.
The total number of arrests last year was one per cent lower than the previous 12 months, and since 2017, police have averted 32 late-stage terrorist attacks across the UK.
Police chiefs cited XRW terrorism in online communities as a growing concern because “games are present as a messaging platform and are reflected in some of the propaganda”.
Matt Jukes, Met’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, said some of the videos produced by XRW groups “occupy the troops of first-person shooter games”, adding: “They present something very attractive to a vulnerable boy who uses a very time to play. “
Speaking to reporters at New Scotland Yard on Thursday, he said: “There is a picture here of young people spending a lot of time discussing, sharing and exchanging material online; we are definitely seeing some of that shift to plans to carry out terrorist attacks. .
“It’s a real concern that we continue to see so many young people in our case work.”
Jukes said counter-terrorism officers have seen an increase in “self-initiated terrorists” – identified as “significantly younger”, unsophisticated operators who arm themselves with “readily available” weapons such as vehicles or knives.
He said they are likely to draw inspiration from online content and are sometimes in touch with others, adding: “The decision to resort to violence is a choice they make and act on alone.”
At present, there are 800 direct police investigations, 80 percent of which are linked to Islamist extremism. Officers interrupted four late-stage terror plans last year – three of which were related to XRW terrorism.
Police said anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and violent misogyny are “lasting features” in the narrative presented by the threat of XRW terrorism.
Jukes said, “We see the description of submission to women – sometimes violent in Islamist narratives – but the one thing that tells me is to have looked at our references to Prevent.”
He said a third of references to the early action program has “a history of domestic abuse – either as a victim, witness or mostly as a male perpetrator of domestic violence”, adding: “There is no doubt that domestic abuse is present in much of our case management and in many terrorism is another form of male violence. “
Sir. Jukes has urged parents and guardians to be aware of changes in young people’s behavior, withdrawal from family life and friendships, and to be attracted to new conversations.
He said: “One thing we see is young people who do not understand that researching and sharing material that they encounter is a terrorist crime. I need to be aware of young people that some of the material they meetings will have serious consequences. “
Outgoing Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said: “We must not be complacent terrorist threat is a realityl and poses a danger. It is constantly evolving [and] we must be ready to adapt and change our approach to match the threat we face. “