Boy allegedly ‘groomed’ by anti-fracking activists on social media, who were eventually banned from contacting him
A 14-year-old A* student was referred to the UK government’s anti-extremism programme following concerns he was being “groomed” for environmental activism by anti-frackers.
The boy, known by the pseudonym Aaron, was targeted via social media after signing an online petition, according to a report on preventing extremism in Greater Manchester commissioned in the aftermath of last year’s Manchester Arena attack.
The main activist stopped only when police made them the subject of an abduction notice. This prohibited them from making contact with a named child. A breach of such a notice is a criminal offence.
Aaron was initially encouraged by local activists to participate in protests and hand out leaflets, but the approaches became “progressively more aggressive to the point where Aaron was on the periphery of engaging in criminal behaviour and frequently reported to the police as missing by his parents”, the report said….
Aaron began to use the ”dark web” to engage with activists to discuss fracking, according to the report by the Greater Manchester Preventing Hateful Extremism and Promoting Social Cohesion Commission. The commission found mental health and learning difficulties were a common feature in the cases they examined.
His parents were so worried that they extensively monitored his online activity and accepted help from Channel, an individualised, multi-agency, support package offered as part of the government’s anti-extremism Prevent programme.
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July 30, 2018 at 08:40AM