Ter­ror­ism let­ter sent to schools

Ad­vice given after threat level rises

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HEAD­TEACH­ERS have been sent a let­ter with ad­vice on what to do if they be­lieve pupils are be­ing per­suaded to join con­flicts abroad.

Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil’s (BCC) in­terim strate­gic di­rec­tor chil­dren and young peo­ple’s ser­vices Trevor Boyd sent the let­ter to all head­teach­ers in the county.

The move fol­lows the dis­ap­pear­ance of up to eight men from High Wy­combe, who are be­lieved to have trav­elled to Syria to join ter­ror­ist group Isis.

The let­ter was sent after the ter­ror­ist threat level was raised from sub­stan­tial to se­vere.

It said: “If you have any... con­cerns, es­pe­cially with re­gards to young peo­ple or their friends, or fam­ily mem­bers be­ing per­suaded to par­tic­i­pate in the con­flict [in Syria and Iraq] or com­mit acts of ter­ror­ism here, please take the op­por­tu­nity to talk to one of the po­lice of­fi­cers you see on pa­trol in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

A spokesman for BCC said the let­ter was not is­sued in re­sponse to any par­tic­u­lar threat in Bucks, but was in­tended to en­sure head­teach­ers were aware of pro­ce­dures if any pupil’s be­hav­iour be­came a ‘mat­ter of con­cern’.

The let­ter asks teach­ers to call the po­lice if they see ‘sus­pi­cious bags, be­hav­iour or ve­hi­cles’.

Since it was sent six pri­mary schools re­quested guid­ance after pupils made com­ments trig­gered by news from Syria.

The coun­cil added: “As well as re­spond­ing to those spe­cific re­quests, the county coun­cil and the po­lice will, be­fore the end of the year, be jointly de­liv­er­ing two train­ing ses­sions to pri­mary heads un­der the gov­ern­ment Pre­vent pro­gramme.”

None of the county’s 34 sec­ondary schools con­tacted the coun­cil after the let­ter.

Four men were re­cently ar­rested by counter ter­ror­ism po­lice in a se­ries of raids in London and High Wy­combe.

A 19-year-old from Wy­combe is still in cus­tody, after of­fi­cers were given ex­tra time to ques­tion him.

Po­lice said his ar­rest, fol­low­ing a search of a home in Des­bor­ough Av­enue, was part of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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