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France - Extremism: the challenge of tracking 20,000 suspected extremists

France's interior ministry compiles something known as the "S file" (the "S" stands for security) which contains anyone suspected of being a radical, including potentially dangerous leftist and far-right activists.

There is also a separate list, the File for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalisation (FSPRT), for people judged to be terror threats.

Radouane Lakdim, the gunman involved in last Friday's shooting spree in the southern French towns of Carcassonne and Trebes, was listed in the S File in May 2014 and the FSPRT in September 2015.

The file includes people who represent varying degrees of threat, from someone who is reported by his boss for not shaking hands with women to a minor who has recently converted to Islam.

But there are more serious cases of people in contact with members of the Islamic State (IS) group, or others who have left for or wanted to travel to areas controlled by IS in Iraq or Syria.

Once listed, a person will remain on the list for five years but might not be actively monitored. The file also contains records of potential links between suspects.

It updates gradually, as cases are reported by the security services or via calls to the toll-free tipline that launched in April 2014.

Read more: France and the challenge of tracking 20,000 suspected extremists - France 24

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