A man who said he is the dad of one of two 15-year-old boys apprehended in Ramsgate on suspicion of terrorist offences yesterday (September 20) claims the arrests centre around ‘jokes’ made online.
Speaking at the family’s terraced home the man, who did not want to be named and also cannot be identified for legal reasons, said the school student’s arrest was ‘a mistake’ and ‘ridiculous’.
He said: “For me it’s unbelievable. It’s completely ridiculous.”
He described alleged online exchanges as ‘stupid jokes’.
The boy, described as ‘intelligent,’ was one of two arrested yesterday (September 20) by Counter Terrorism Policing South East detectives on suspicion of terrorism offences.
The boys − both aged 15 – were arrested at their home addresses in Ramsgate on suspicion of preparing for terrorist acts. The acts are linked to the extreme right, said Detective Superintendent Nigel Doak from CTPSE.
They are being questioned at a police station in the South East after being detained under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.
Detective Superintendent Nigel Doak from CTPSE said: “I would like to reassure the local community that (the) arrests were pre-planned and intelligence-led, and there was no immediate threat to the public.
“We are committed to tackling any and all ideologies which pose a threat to the public’s safety and security. We treat the threat from the extreme right in exactly the same way as any other threat.
“To defeat terrorism and all forms of extremism, CT Policing launched the national awareness campaign, ‘Make Nothing Happen’.
“The campaign, the first under the branding platform ACT: Action Counters Terrorism urges the public to act on their instincts and report suspicious activity, including all types of extremist behaviour, to the police by visiting www.gov.uk/ACT or calling confidentially on 0800 789 321. In an emergency dial 999.”
Any person arrested under section 41 is subject to provisions which allow for the extension of that person’s detention, prior to release or charge, beyond the normal limits.
The maximum period of detention allowed under section 41 is currently 14 days. In exceptional circumstances an emergency power allows for temporary extension up to 28 days and this remains the current maximum.
In the year ending 31 December 2017 there were 412 terrorism-related arrests in the UK. Twenty-seven of those arrested were under the age of 18.