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New numbers from PREVENT show continued ineffectiveness of strategy

New numbers from PREVENT show continued ineffectiveness of strategy

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday March 28 2018

Statistics released by the Home Office today, Tuesday 27th of March, continue to depict the worrying nature of the PREVENT duty as casting an unnecessarily wide net which is devoid of meaningful detail and which results in unacceptable numbers of unwarranted referrals. In other words, due to the confusion and anxieties surrounding PREVENT, large numbers of innocent people are being unnecessarily swept up into the programme.

The PREVENT duty enforces a statutory duty on public bodies to have “due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism”. In other words, staff within schools, universities, the police, the NHS, probation services, local authorities, councils, prisons, colleges and other public institutions have a compulsory duty to report anyone they suspect may be vulnerable to becoming radicalised.

Once individuals have been identified by staff within these public bodies, they are referred to a program called CHANNEL and a support plan is created if it is deemed necessary

The new data, covering the period between April 2016 and March 2017, shows that the number of referrals made to PREVENT (6,093) during this period dropped by more than 20% relative to the same period the year before (7,631).

The data also shows that education remains the top avenue through which referrals are made, with 32.43% of all referrals to PREVENT originating from the education sphere

While the findings indicate that the number of individuals being referred to PREVENT and subsequently receiving CHANNEL support for concerns of “Islamist Extremism” dropped by 30.3% relative to last year, the opposite was true for individuals being referred for concerns on “Right Wing Extremism”, which increased by 25.3%.

The PREVENT duty has also been heavily and repeatedly criticised by numerous experts. These critics include (but are not limited to) two special rapporteurs to the UN, the NUT, the NUS, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, Rights Watch UK, the Open Society Justice Initiative, and more than 140 academics, politicians and experts in a single letter alone.

Furthermore, a recent report released by the University of Warwick has found that a number of referrals were made by NHS mental health trusts that were significantly inappropriate. One case involved “an Asian man” being referred to PREVENT because he was planning a “future trip to Saudi Arabia” – the man was planning a Hajj trip to the holy city of Mecca, which all Muslims aim to do at least once during their lifetime.

The Security Minister, Mr Ben Wallace, said: “The figures released today show that the programme is continuously improving, demonstrated by better referrals being made and the fact that we are tackling the threat from the far right…We have seen all too starkly the devastating consequences of radicalisation and the need for a coordinated response at a local and national level”.



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