As a practitioner working in Prevent I am always grateful for the opportunity to engage with and learn from academia. Whilst I cannot profess to have any theoretical or conceptual expertise in areas such as “cumulative or reciprocal radicalisation” or “interactive escalation,” I do feel that my personal experiences of working in counter terrorism can draw out effective examples of how extremist views can amplify each other, and how we can support vulnerable people through positive, tailored interventions.
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”
These fourteen words have been seared into white supremacist folklore.
As a practitioner who has worked in Prevent since 2013, I am well aware that it is not
without controversy. Some of its ardent critics would say that it has a “chilling effect”
on free speech and open debate, particularly within education. However, as the
Prevent Duty guidance states, the very opposite should be true. In fact, building
children’s resilience to radicalisation through debate, decision-making, citizenship and
the development of critical thinking skills is one of the cornerstones of Prevent in
The launch of CONTEST 3.0 is a milestone in the UK’s evolving counter terrorism strategy, it also coincides with my own 10th anniversary working in the prevention of violent extremism. With a new Home Secretary at the helm and CONTEST now relaunched, it seems a fitting occasion to look back at the evolution of the Prevent strand of counter terrorism.
The Home Office has recently released its latest set of statistics on the UK Prevent strategy and Channel programme for the period April 2016 to March 2017. Perhaps the standout headline was that radical right referrals to Prevent have risen by more than a quarter since the previous year. In fact, individuals with a radical right ideology now account for over a third of those that receive intervention from Channel- the safeguarding process that supports the most vulnerable, high-risk Prevent referrals.