Prevent FAQs

What is Prevent?

  • Prevent is one strand of the Government’s counter terrorism strategy, CONTEST. It is about safeguarding vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.
  • Prevent is delivered in partnership with a wide range of organisations including the council and the Police. It acts to safeguard people who are vulnerable to radicalisation in a similar way to safeguarding processes designed to protect people from gang activity, physical/sexual abuse and bullying.

What is meant by Extremism?

  • The 2011 Prevent strategy defines extremism as “Vocal or active opposition to fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We [the Government] also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.”

How do people become radicalised?

  • No single factor [whether foreign policy or ideology] is enough to cause someone to join a terrorist group or support terrorism. There is no single pathway to radicalisation or way of predicting who might become radicalised.
  • Factors may include: peer pressure, influence from other people or the internet, bullying, crime and anti-social behaviour, family tensions, race/hate crime, lack of self-esteem or identity and personal or political grievances. But many people will have experienced these issues, and the vast majority will not go onto become involved in terrorism.
  • Radicalisation can be a gradual process and happen over a long period of time. It is therefore possible to intervene and prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorist-related activity.

What is the level of threat to the UK and Southampton?

  • The threat to the UK from international terrorism is currently ‘severe’ – meaning an attack is highly likely. The threat level for the UK from international terrorism is set nationally by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).
  • The ‘Prevent’ risk relates to the risk of individuals being radicalized or drawn into extremism. The Prevent risk level in Southampton is currently deemed to be low.
  • However, no area is risk free and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that anyone who is vulnerable to radicalisation gets access to the support they need.

What role do schools play in Prevent?

  • Keeping our children safe, and ensuring our schools prepare them for life in modern, multi-cultural Britain could not be more important.
  • Schools already play an important role in safeguarding young people from various harms, including physical/sexual abuse, drug abuse and bullying. Similarly, school staff can also play a role in identifying the signs, and helping to reduce the risks of, radicalisation.
  • Schools should be safe spaces where children and young people can challenge and discuss ideas around extremism and develop the critical thinking skills that allows them to reject extremism.

Does Prevent restrict freedom of speech / academic freedom in Universities?

  • Universities’ commitment to freedom of speech and the advancement of knowledge means they represent one of our most important arenas for challenging extremist views and ideologies.
  • The Prevent Guidance makes explicit reference to universities’ duties to ensure freedom of speech and academic freedom.
  • Universities have the experience and knowledge to be able to establish how to protect students from extremist ideas.
  • This is not about clamping down on free speech. It is about protecting young people who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

Does the Prevent strategy target the Muslim Community?

  • Prevent addresses all forms of terrorism. It applies to any individual, from any faith, ethnicity or background who may be at risk of being drawn into any form of terrorism. The most significant terrorist threat currently comes from Right Wing extremist groups as well as overseas Islamist terrorist organisations such as DAESH and Al Qa’ida associated groups. The Government’s security response therefore reflects this.
  • Britain is home to diverse Muslim communities who contribute to every aspect of the UK’s social, political and economic life and are free to practice their religion in accordance with the law. It goes without saying that the vast majority of Muslims do so while abhorring the terrorist acts of Daesh and AQ associated groups.
  • The Prevent Strategy aims to work with members of the Muslim Community including the Muslim Council of Southampton who are represented on the Prevent Partnership Board.

Is the Prevent strategy about ‘spying’ on each other?

  • The Prevent Strategy is clear that Prevent activities must not be used as a means for covert spying on people or communities. It is about protecting and safeguarding those who might be vulnerable to the danger of radicalisation.

What do I do if I want to report a Prevent concern?

If you have any concerns that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation you must complete a National Referral Form so that the Prevent team can assess the level of need and develop a response.

What is the Channel Panel?

  • Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme available in every local authority in England and Wales. It works to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism and provides a range of support, including mentoring, counselling, assistance with employment etc.
  • Channel is a confidential and voluntary programme. It is up to an individual, or their parents where appropriate, to decide whether to take advantage of the support it offers. It is not any form of criminal or civil sanction.
  • Channel is about early intervention to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity and addresses all forms of extremism. Channel has received referrals from a range of people concerned about an individual’s wellbeing, including from schools, health and social services and communities.

What is MASH?

  • The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in Southampton – including Prevent concerns.
  • If you have any concerns that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation you must complete a National Referral Form so that the Prevent team can assess the level of need and develop a response.