UK police appeal for information on would-be jihadis

LONDON (AA) – Britain’s head of counter-terrorism has called on the public to inform on suspected extremists amid claims that the policy is failing and creating divisive communities.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said on Tuesday there had been 69 arrests this year for terrorism offences linked to Syria, a fivefold rise compared to last year. Offences ranged from fundraising to traveling abroad for terrorist training.

The call follows the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State, apparently at the hands of a British jihadi.

Rowley revealed that “significant progress” was being made to identify the person responsible. Media reports have claimed the British security services are close to identifying the man in the video of Foley’s killing.

Rowley added that police were removing extremist material from the Internet, with 45,000 items removed by police action. The police are currently investigating 800 pieces of content in relation to Syria and Iraq that breach terror laws.

Rowley went on to praise the Prevent program, designed to identify those at risk of radicalization. However, Harun Khan, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, told BBC Radio 5 Live the program had “failed” and was having a “negative impact.”

Police called for the public, as well as the family and friends of suspects, to report “dangerous individuals” suspected of wanting to travel to Syria to join terrorist organizations.

Asim Quershi, research director at campaign group CAGE, said: “All it does is increases disenfranchisement, it increases alienation and makes the U.K. a less socially cohesive place and definitely a more dangerous place.”

 

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