30 children subject to court orders over fears they could join ISIS

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  • Judges have considered cases involving at least a dozen different families,
  • Follows concerns children could be taken out of the country to join ISIS
  • Counter-terror officers arresting suspects at rate of more than one a day

By Matt Chorley, Political Editor for MailOnline

Published: 16:17 GMT, 5 August 2015 | Updated: 16:51 GMT, 5 August 2015

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The courts have imposed orders on more than 30 children over fears they could be radicalised, it emerged today.

Scotland Yard revealed judges have considered cases involving at least a dozen different families, including concerns they could be taken out of the country to join ISIS in Syria.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley also revealed that counter-terrorism officers are now arresting suspects at a rate of more than one a day. 

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley revealed judges have considered cases involving at least a dozen different families, including concerns they could be taken out of the country to join ISIS in Syria

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley revealed judges have considered cases involving at least a dozen different families, including concerns they could be taken out of the country to join ISIS in Syria

Police and judges have grown increasingly concerned about the threat posed to children by older siblings or their parents becoming radicalised and trying to relocate to Syria.

Family courts are now using orders to protect young children, including stopping them from leaving the country.

Mr Rowley, the country's most senior terrorism officer, said in some instances the children were 'almost babes in arms', with ages ranging from two or three up to 16 or 17.

Cases involved children being made wards of court or an interim care order being made in which the subject is temporarily taken into foster care.

He said: 'It could be about concerns that one of the older children is showing signs of radicalisation or it could be because of parents planning to travel and relocate the family to Raqqa (in Syria) or somewhere like that.

'The last thing we want is children going to a war zone with a terrorist ideology around them.' 

Police and judges have grown increasingly concerned about the threat posed to children by older siblings or their parents becoming radicalised and trying to relocate to Syria to join ISIS

Police and judges have grown increasingly concerned about the threat posed to children by older siblings or their parents becoming radicalised and trying to relocate to Syria to join ISIS

Mr Rowley disclosed that counter-terrorism officers are now arresting suspects at a rate of more than one a day.

Around one in 10 investigations (11 per cent) relate to radicalisation, while one in seven are linked to individuals suspected of being at risk of becoming a 'lone actor'.

It was also revealed that the number of passports temporarily seized by police from individuals suspected of travelling for terrorist purposes has reached double figures. The confiscation power was introduced earlier this year. 

David Cameron has announced plans to give parents the power to cancel their children's passports if they suspect they are trying to travel to Iraq or Syria.

Sir James Munby ordered adults from two families to be tagged to stop them travelling to join ISIS

Sir James Munby ordered adults from two families to be tagged to stop them travelling to join ISIS

This week adult members of two families were ordered by a judge to be immediately fitted with electronic monitoring tags because of fears they could take children to areas controlled by Islamic State.

Sir James Munby, president of the Family Division of the High Court, ruled the tagging measure - believed to be the first of its kind - is necessary to end the children's separation from their parents whilst ensuring their safety is protected.

Local authorities who placed the children in foster care opposed them being returned to their families pending full fact-finding hearings of the cases in the family courts later this year.

But the country's most senior family judge ruled that the the risk of them being taken from the UK was 'very small indeed' and counter-balanced by the children's need to be returned to parental care.

Sir James announced he was intending to make the tagging orders as part of a package of safety measures in a judgment he gave last week.

But he postponed making the orders until today to consider concerns about the monitoring raised by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), which described the situation as 'unprecedented'.

The judge said the case arose after two family groups were detained at airports - one in the UK and one in Turkey - earlier this year when security officials became concerned they were heading to Islamic State areas in Syria.

He said social workers had taken the cases to family court in a bid to protect the children.

Youngsters were placed in foster care pending decisions about their long-term futures, due to be made at hearings in October and December.

Sir James said he had to decide whether youngsters could be returned to parents pending future hearings and final decisions.

He said he had concluded that they could - despite social workers raising fears that children would be taken to ISIS areas and their lives put at risk - provided 'comprehensive' protection packages were in place.

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