'Families should have been given Syria letter'.
'Families should have been given Syria letter' POLICE have admitted they should have communicated more directly with the families of three teenage girls who are feared to have travelled to Syria to join Isis. Scotland Yard said that "with the benefit of hindsight" letters addressed to seven girls' families about a 15-year-old fellow pupil at Bethnal Green Academy in east London who joined Islamic State could have been delivered directly to their parents. Instead, they were given to the schoolgirls to pass on, days before three of them - Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase - sparked a police hunt after they flew from Gatwick to Istanbul on February 17. The force said that it now understood that not all of the letters were passed on. The families of the schoolgirls say they were let down by the Metropolitan Police and accuse officers of covering up their errors. But the force claimed the parents had already been made aware by the school's deputy head that the 15-yearold girl had travelled to Syria. And it said that there was "nothing whatsoever" to indicate that any of the girls was planning to travel to Syria. A spokesman explained that of- ficers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) held a meeting with the seven girls on February 5. He said: "In this meeting an SO15 officer handed letters to each of the girls, addressed to their parents, requesting their daughters' further co-operation as part of the investigation. "We now understand that these letters were not passed on in every case. "We acknowledge that the letters could have been delivered direct to the parents. "The parents were already aware from the deputy head that the 15-year-old girl had travelled to Syria, all the teenagers were being co-operative, they were all being treated as potential witnesses and there was nothing to indicate that they were planning to travel to Syria."