The North West Counter Terrorism Unit have arrested a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism, in a move that is unrelated to the ongoing investigation to the local family of nine who are being held after attempting to travel to the Islamic State.
Police say the intelligence-led arrests were made after the “examination of a number of electronic devices”. It is unclear whether the devices – most likely mobile phones or personal computers – actually belonged to the arrested teenagers, or whether communications intercepted during other investigations led to the arrests.
A spokesman for the arresting force said: “As part of an ongoing investigation, officers from the Tactical Aid Unit and North West Counter Terrorism Unit executed a warrant at a house in Longsight. A 16-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism”. Both have been bailed until May 28th.
The revelation that those preparing for jihad in the United Kingdom become ever younger comes as teachers have expressed a desire to make schools a “safe space” where students can discuss extremism and terrorism without fear of being reffered to the government’s ‘prevent’ programme. The Guardian reports the comments, made at the annual National Union of Teachers conference came in the form of a motion which said: “Many teachers may feel uncertain about engaging in such discussions with students and may feel the need for guidance and professional development on how to do this”.
One teacher said that students were afraid to express opinions such as finding cartoons, such as those printed in Charlie Hebdo of Mohammad, offensive, lest it mark them out as a potential extremist.