Police urge youngsters not to ‘Cross The Line’ with bold new initiative
Hertfordshire Police is using smartphone technology to launch a new initiative aimed at deterring youngsters from radicalisation, hate crime and right-wing extremism...
Hertfordshire Police is using smartphone technology to launch a new initiative aimed at deterring youngsters from radicalisation, hate crime and right-wing extremism.
‘Cross The Line’ is a hard-hitting web app which uses social media to put the user directly in the centre of the action, through the use of information from the individual’s personal profile, alongside video and social media messages.
The app takes the user on a journey which sees their persona getting drawn into the extreme right wing, before quickly escalating into violent hate crime in which they are the suspect.
The user has a number of choices to make within the app which influences the steps they take and decides whether they eventually ‘Cross the Line’.
The aim of the initiative is to highlight how easily anyone can be influenced by radical behaviour – and to educate young people about the consequences of being drawn into extremist ideology.
A total of 62,518 hate crimes were recorded by police in England and Wales in 2015/16, an increase of 19 per cent compared with 2014/15. A staggering 49,419 of these were racially driven.
Despite this, the under-reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents remains one of the biggest challenges faced by police nationwide, and there is still more work to do to encourage victims to speak out.
Ivan Humble, a former English Defence League (EDL) organiser, says: “Cross the Line is all about giving someone the choice, before making a mistake. I wish the Cross the Line app had been around when I was younger, as I think it would have given me a chance to see what I might be getting into before I actually made the mistakes that I did.
Humble renounced extremism after a chance meeting with members of the Muslim community, and now works to encourage people to leave far right-wing organisations. “I now see how my actions in the past divided communities, which is what drives me to put the wrongs that I did right, bring the communities back together and help destroy the ‘us’ and ‘them’ vibe, which doesn’t get you anywhere at all.”
The new app is being heavily promoted to young people in the area through social media channels. Those who want to see if they would ‘Cross the Line’ can go to www.crosstheline.co.uk
It aims to stop people becoming drawn into extremist or terrorist activity, using a range of measures. For more information about Prevent, visit: www.ltai.info/what-is-prevent/