The Government has published the terms of reference for the independent review of the Prevent programme. This follows the appointment of Lord Carlile to lead the review as reported by Risk Xtra. The review will focus on the current delivery of Prevent and make recommendations for the future of the Government’s strategy for safeguarding those vulnerable to radicalisation.
This will include looking at how effectively Prevent is delivered at both the local and national levels, how effectively the Prevent statutory duty is being implemented, how it might be improved to respond to justified criticisms and complaints and how it interacts with other safeguarding strategies.
The review will report to Parliament by August 2020.
Security Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Prevent is an absolutely vital part of our efforts to stop people from being drawn into or supporting terrorism. Since 2012, more than 1,700 people have been steered away from terrorism via the Channel programme, which provides confidential, tailored support for individuals at risk of radicalisation.”
Lewis added: “We know that Prevent is successfully stopping people from being drawn into terrorism, and this review will give us further evidence of what works well, while also suggesting areas for improvements. I look forward to seeing these recommendations.”
Independent reviewer of Prevent Lord Carlile observed: “This review is an opportunity to take stock of what Prevent looks like in practice, what’s working and what isn’t, and identify what improvements need to be made to respond to how the threat might change in the future. Making these terms of reference public is an important step. It paves the way to my engagement with a wide range of those interested in the UK’s strategy for safeguarding those vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism, both critics and supporters alike, in an independent and open way. This will include a formal call for evidence in the coming weeks and a series of roadshows over the Autumn and Winter.”
The purpose of Prevent is to safeguard vulnerable people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism by engaging with those who are identified as being vulnerable to radicalisation or targeting by terrorist recruiters.
Prevent deals with all forms of terrorism, including Islamist and extreme right wing, and does not focus on any one community.
The Prevent duty came into force as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and ensures that specified authorities have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. It covers schools, colleges, universities, the healthcare sector, local authorities, the police and prisons. Delivery of Prevent in these sectors will be considered as part of the review.
Volunteering for the police
Civil servants volunteering as special constables will receive up to 12 days of paid special leave per year to spend more time supporting their local police force following an initiative from the Home Office.
The Cabinet Office and Her Majesty’s Treasury are among the 19 Government departments increasing this dedicated leave allowance for staff.
The announcement comes as new central guidance is issued to support civil servants who want to become special constables. For the first time, the guide sets out in one place information on how to apply, who is eligible and the types of roles available as well as detailing what support the civil service offers special constables.
It follows the Home Office increasing its special leave allowance for employees volunteering as special constables in November last year, a move the Metropolitan Police Service has acknowledged with a certificate recognising the department’s commitment to the Special Constabulary.
Supporting the volunteering initiative, Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said: “As public servants, those civil servants who volunteer are citizens who serve twice. We should all be proud of them. I hope that colleagues from across the civil service will follow the lead of those from the Home Office who’ve become special constables.”
Home Office Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam added: “Special constables play a pivotal role in meeting some of our most important priorities, tackling knife crime, safeguarding the vulnerable and keeping the public safe. Civil servants who take this opportunity will gain professionally and benefit from an insight into front line policing, which will be valued across Government. I’m proud that the Home Office is leading the way in supporting civil servants who wish to become special constables and make a difference in their communities.”