Government’s de-radicalisation scheme now has as many far-Right extremists as Islamists

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The number of suspected far-Right extremists put on a flagship government de-radicalisation programme rose by 40 per cent last year to match Islamist cases for the first time, official figures revealed today.

The Home Office statistics show that a total of 179 people, including 59 children aged under 15 and 33 females, thought to be at risk of engaging in Islamist extremism were supported under the “Channel” scheme during the 12 months to March this year.

The numbers were down on the total for the year before and well below the peak of 262 Islamists referred to the programme in 2016. But that was accompanied by a rise in the number of those put on the scheme for far-Right sympathies, which increased to a peak of 174 — up 40 per cent on the total of 124 the year before.

The majority of these were aged 20 or under, with 73 of those undergoing de-radicalisation aged 15 or over, and another 43 who were younger than this.

There were also 12 suspected far-Right extremists on the programme aged between 51 and 60 and nine aged 41 to 50. Virtually all of the cases involved men or boys, although there were eight females among the 174 people undergoing de-radicalisation.

Unveiling the figures today, the Home Office said that it was “the first time” that “a similar number of individuals have received Channel support for concerns relating to Islamist and far-Right extremism”.

It added that the rise in far-Right cases continued “the upward trends seen since 2015/16” but the number of Islamist sympathisers sent for counter-extremism support had remained “more stable”.

Most of those put on the Channel scheme left, according to today’s publication, with “no further terrorism-related concerns” thought to exist.

A total of 47 people quit the programme with outstanding fears about their beliefs.

The Home Office said that “in some cases support from other services” was in place and that the police would manage any “terrorism risk” that might still be present.

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