Right wing-related Prevent referrals “increase to record levels” reports Home Office

The proportion of right wing-related referrals into Prevent has reached its highest ever level according to new Home Office statistics. The overall number of vulnerable people referred to and supported through the Prevent programme has fallen to its lowest level in three years, with 5,738 referrals in the year to March 2019: a decrease of around 22% from the previous 12 months.

This is an expected decline as referral levels return to those seen pre-2017, when terrorist incidents and a heightened awareness of terrorism and radicalisation prompted a spike in people contacting Prevent for support.

The overall reduction in referrals is explained largely by the drop in Islamist-related concerns, which for the first time reached parity with right wing referrals on around 24%. The rise in right wing referrals continued the growth seen in the last few years, up from 18% in 2017-2018.

The largest proportion of referrals (38%) is those concerned with individuals exhibiting a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology – when vulnerable people exhibit a combination of elements from multiple ideologies or even shift between different ideologies depending on what content they’re exposed to.

Protecting vulnerable individuals

Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, Counter-Terrorism Policing’s national Prevent co-ordinator, commented: “The figures clearly demonstrate that Prevent is about protecting vulnerable people from any and all toxic ideologies that seek to lure them towards terrorism. The sheer volume of cases we see with mixed or unclear ideology demonstrates that complex behavioural needs and mental ill-health can create a significant vulnerability to radicalisation.”

Adams continued: “In 2018 we introduced a new assessment tool which has helped us deal with referrals more efficiently, directing individuals to the services that are most suitable to their needs.”

The statistics also show that the overall number of individuals discussed at a Channel panel (1,320) and adopted as a Channel case (561) reached the highest level ever recorded. Channel panels are meetings of professionals from different agencies who assess the needs of individuals vulnerable to radicalisation, deliver the right support and monitor progress.

Adams went on to state: “To see an increase in the number of Channel cases while overall referrals are declining is a good indicator that our improved assessment processes are working and that professionals, friends and families who make referrals better understand the risks of radicalisation and how Prevent can help. Early intervention is absolutely key. Experience has shown us that it’s so much harder to pull somebody back once extremist views have become entrenched.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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