Anything that keeps our youngsters safe is great

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It’s no secret that Portsmouth has found itself in the headlines over the past couple of years with regard to extremists.

As we have reported in these pages many times, several young people have decided to go to fight with Isil in Syria.

And some of them have lost their lives in the process.

So it’s good to be able to report today that work to tackle extremism in the city is proving a great success.

The counter-terror scheme called Prevent was launched in the wake of the young men’s deaths and was backed across the community.

Superintendent Will Schofield and his officers are spending time going out and talking directly to young people.

The aim is to nip any situation arising in the bud before it becomes a problem.

And so far it’s going very well.

As Supt Schofield says: ‘This is about young people who don’t come into contact with the police very often.’

And it’s that dialogue that is proving so valuable in the battle with extremism.

There are communities of all creeds and colours that can, for whatever reason, feel disenfranchised.

So to build trust and keep the conversation going can only be viewed as a positive thing.

Supt Schofield mentions that at least a couple of young people have already been drawn to officers’ attention and engaged with them.

It’s hard to exaggerate how vital this work is.

Not only is it about keeping our communities safe.

But it’s about making sure that no more of our young people make the terrifying decision to make their way to Syria to fight.

And hopefully, it can go some way towards making sure no more of them pay the ultimate price and lose their lives abroad.

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