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A 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of sharing Islamist terrorist material.

The teenager was held in west London by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) on Tuesday before being released on bail until mid-June.

Suspected of distributing terrorist material, he was arrested and his home was searched.

The arrest comes amid growing concern about the radicalization of young people.

CLC Chief Richard Smith said: “Although it is still very rare for such a young person to be arrested for a terrorism offence, we have recently seen a worrying increase in the number of teenagers drawn into terrorism.

“That particular investigation is still ongoing, but more broadly, we are working closely with a range of partners to try to protect and steer vulnerable young people away from extremism and terrorism.

“The public has an important role to play in this, and we urge anyone who believes a friend or relative is becoming radicalized or being led down a path of terrorism to act quickly. Please contact us so we can provide that person with the help she needs.

Police have seen the number of terrorism arrests for all age groups except children fall during the pandemic, and in the year to March 2021, 13% of suspects arrested for terrorism offenses were under the age of 18, up from 5% the previous year.

Authorities fear the increase in time spent online while Covid-19 restrictions were in place left more children vulnerable to radicalisation.

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