Police have denied that pro-ISIS material is being distributed around the Arun district.
Last week’s Bognor Observer front page, under the headline ‘Shock as ‘extremist’ leaflets are handed out’, reported on a councillor telling a meeting that propaganda leaflets for the terrorist group had been handed out at an Indian restaurant in the district.
Responding, Sussex Police chief inspector Justin Burtenshaw said: “We have no record of ever receiving the leaflets referred to last week in a local media report.
“From talking to the people who raised this issue, we have now established that one may have been seen in the area about ten years ago, and apparently another may have been seen during a visit one of the people concerned made to Coventry in January this year.
“There have been no recent incidents of extremist leaflets being distributed in Arun and there is clearly no evidence of Bognor being an ISIS recruitment hub of any kind.”
As reported, Cllr Barbara Piedot told fellow Felpham Parish Council members that at a recent Arun District Council ‘Prevent’ seminar, two men present claimed they had been handed pro-ISIS leaflets at Indian restaurants.
She said: “We were all a bit shocked by that. The men said they had sent the leaflets to the police.”
The story also reported on a Felpham PCSO telling the meeting that a young boy was at risk of being radicalised.
C/Insp Burtenshaw said: “It is not our general policy to publicly refer to individual cases, but the boy referred to in the same media report was not assessed as being at risk of ‘radicalisation’.
“The reference to ‘IS’ was hypothetical. He did have some specific support needs and is currently the subject of a multi-agency care plan, details of which are not being disclosed. “’Prevent’ in local communities is now a lead responsibility of local authorities, but we work closely with them across Sussex.”
C/Insp Burtenshaw added: “The national terrorist threat level remains at Severe, meaning an attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that Sussex is a specific threat.”
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