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’. It is  supporting those people who may be vulnerable to extremist ideologies before they cross the threshold into criminal activity. Those suspected of already being engaged in illegal activity will be managed through the criminal justice system in accordance with normal criminal justice processes.


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 Al Qaeda, ISIL (Islamic State in Sharm and the Levant) inspired, the far right, Irish republican, animal rights, faith-based extremism and others. However, the Government considers the threat posed by individuals and groups inspired by Al Qaeda and ISIL to be the biggest risk to national security at the moment, so it is appropriate that this receive a proportionate focus of the work.


There is also growing national concern about the risk of far right violence, especially since  the  killings in Norway in 2011, the murder of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham in 2013, neo-Nazi activity elsewhere in Europe and the growth of ‘Defence League’ groups and their associated splinter groups that have formed in the UK and Europe.


Under the Terrorism Act 2000, the Home Secretary can ban or ‘proscribe’ an organisation if she believes it is concerned in terrorism. For the purposes of the Act, this means that it: commits or participates in acts of terrorism; prepares for terrorism; promotes or encourages terrorism (including the unlawful glorification of terrorism); or is otherwise concerned in terrorism.


You can read more about what the Home Secretary takes into account when banning an organisation and look at the current list of proscribed organisations at: