YEP Says, August 17: Winning hearts and minds is key to fighting terror

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THe CHALLENGE confronting the police when it comes to tackling Islamist terrorism is akin to the warning which the IRA issued to Margaret Thatcher in the aftermath of the 1984 Brighton bomb: “We only have to be lucky once – you will have to be lucky always.” Yet , while the knee-jerk reaction of many is to blame the police for intelligence failings when the terrorists do strike, it is important to acknowledge the number of atrocities that have been foiled because of the diligence of the security services.

THe CHALLENGE confronting the police when it comes to tackling Islamist terrorism is akin to the warning which the IRA issued to Margaret Thatcher in the aftermath of the 1984 Brighton bomb: “We only have to be lucky once – you will have to be lucky always.” Yet , while the knee-jerk reaction of many is to blame the police for intelligence failings when the terrorists do strike, it is important to acknowledge the number of atrocities that have been foiled because of the diligence of the security services.

This is borne out by today’s revelation that nearly 250 people from Yorkshire and the North East, including, shockingly, more than a dozen children under the age of 12, have been referred to the Government’s anti-radicalisation programme, in the past year. Though it is deeply disturbing that young children find themselves at the mercy of those preachers of hatred whose extreme views are a perversion of the Islamic faith, it is also vindicates the approach being taken by Ministers and the police – these are people who will, hopefully, come to respect British values rather than following the example of brainwashed teenagers like Dewsbury’s Talha Asmal who became Britain’s youngest ever suicide bomber when he reportedly blew himself up in Iraq.

These findings are also another reminder that winning over hearts and minds in local communities is the key to fighting radicalisation. However this is not just a job for the police – officers require the co-operation of all. No-one must shirk from this responsibility.

Let’s inspire kids’ imagination!

We’re overwhelmed that almost 5,000 children have signed up to our holiday reading challenge, encouraging youngsters to read six books over the summer break. Now we want to give them the chance to put their writing skills - and their creativity - to the test too.

For details on how your children can enter our short story competition, see page 34. All we ask is they let their imaginations fly. (It might give parents a few hours’ peace too? Surely that’s an incentive in itself!)

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