London: A leaked police memo has said nursery-age children should be monitored for signs of brainwashing by Islamist extremists.
According to The Times, in an e-mail to community groups, an officer in the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit wrote: “I do hope that you will tell me about persons, of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation ... Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of 4.”
The police unit confirmed that counter-terrorist officers specially trained in identifying children and young people vulnerable to radicalisation had visited nursery schools.
Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, criticised the memo saying that it ran the risk of “alienating even more people”.
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said that it was an “absurd waste of police time”.
Sir Norman Bettison, who speaks for the Association of Chief Police Officers on Prevent, the Government’s anti-terror strategy, said that the officer’s e-mail was a “clumsy” attempt to explain it.