London, Mar 28: A British Police scheme aimed at spotting children vulnerable to Islamic radicalisation has identified 200 school children, including some as young as 13 years, as potential terrorists.
Sir Norman Bettison, Britain's senior most police officer in charge of terror prevention, revealed this shocking data of potential child extremists to The Independent.
Under this unique 'Channel Project', launched 18 months ago, cops asked teachers, parents and other community leaders to look for kids who showed an inclination towards extreme views.
The project, funded by the Home Office, involves officers working alongside Muslim communities to identify impressionable children who are at risk of radicalisation or who have shown an interest in extremist material on the Internet or books.
Sir Norman however stressed that the system was not being used to target the Muslim community.
"The whole ethos is to build a relationship, on the basis of trust and confidence, with those communities...We are targeting criminals and would-be terrorists who happen to be cloaking themselves in Islamic rhetoric. That is not the same as targeting the Muslim community," he said.
The scheme, run by the Association of Chief Police Officers, was originally piloted in Lancashire and the Metropolitan Police borough of Lambeth in 2007, but in February last year it was extended to West Yorkshire, the Midlands, Bedfordshire and South Wales.
It is also expected to roll out to the rest of London, Thames Valley, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and West Sussex.