What is Prevent?
Prevent forms part of the government’s Counter Terrorism strategy called Contest. The aim of Prevent is to stop people becoming or supporting terrorists, by challenging the spread of terrorist ideology, supporting vulnerable individuals, and working in key sectors and institutions.
Common Misunderstandings about Prevent
Prevent is not about catching terrorists, it is about identifying people who may be at risk of radicalisation and supporting them to change direction in a way that will help them.
It is not ‘spying on communities’. Those suspected of being engaged in illegal activity will be managed through the criminal justice system in accordance with normal criminal justice processes. Prevent is about working with communities to help them support vulnerable people and build resilience to groups or individuals who seek to create divisions and cause harm.
There are only a very small number of people who support terrorist activity, or are likely to. The vast majority of people, in all communities, want to see terrorism prevented, and want to play their part as good citizens in helping to make that happen.
Prevent work covers all forms of potential terrorism, such as islamic extremism, the far right, Irish republican, animal rights and others.
What Prevent work is being undertaken within Cheshire?
Cheshire’s approach to Prevent will be to help communities themselves to identify and challenge violent extremism in an appropriate way. Community engagement will also help to identify the local, national or international issues and events that may drive people to support violent extremist causes.
One of the main elements of our Prevent work is a programme called Channel, whereby people who are assessed as being vulnerable to supporting violent extremism are provided with multi-agency support. Channel has been operating successfully in Cheshire for about two years, and covers all forms of extremism. The support that is offered is tailored for each case, and could consist of help with family problems, mental health support, mentoring, religious support and others. People who are referred to Channel are not criminals; but may be at risk of committing an offence if not supported.
For guidance on whether an individual needs support to address their vulnerability to radicalisation and the support that they need please refer to the ‘Channel Vulnerability Assessment Framework’ and ‘Channel Guidance’ documents. Both documents will assess you with your decision making surrounding:
- Engagement with a group, cause or ideology
- Intent to cause harm
- Capability to cause harm
- Safeguarding and training
Prevent work includes training staff within partner agencies (Education/Health/Prison/Probation/Youth Offending/Fire Service/Police) and key organisations within the private sector to spot people who may be at risk of supporting violent extremism and refer them for support.
- Support for organisations and individuals to challenge extremist ideology
Many people and groups want to work actively to change extremist ideology and uphold the values of tolerance, democracy, cohesion, equality, the rule of law and freedom of speech. This is most powerful when it comes from within communities themselves. The Prevent Delivery Plan will identify and encourage community-based activities and projects to help this to happen.
How likely is a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom?
On 29th August 2014 the threat level in the UK was raised from substantial to severe. This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely. This increase is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled from the UK.
Types of Extremism
- International Terrorism: Al Qaeda, ISIS etc.
- Domestic Extremism: Animal Rights Extremism, Extreme Right Wing, Extreme Left Wing etc.
- Northern Ireland Related Terrorism.
Methods of Radicalisation
- Contact with existing extremists
- Speeches and writings by charismatic individuals
- Online communities: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp.