Counter terrorism – Prevent

Prevent is one strand of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST. Prevent is about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism.

Prevent uses the support of people in our communities to reach those who may be drawn into terrorism, often through extremist views. Prevent is not about catching terrorists. It is about identifying people who are or may be at risk from radicalisation, and supporting them to change direction. 

Many of those targeted by extremists are vulnerable and Prevent aims to safeguard those adults and young people from harm in the same way we provide support to those at risk of becoming involved in gangs, drugs or other forms of exploitation.

The Prevent strategy covers all forms of terrorism, including far right extremism and non-violent extremism.

The main objectives of Prevent are to:

  • respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.
  • prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support.
  • work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.

The Prevent duty

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a specific duty on certain bodies to regard the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. If there are concerns that an individual may be vulnerable to radicalisation around violent extremism then these concerns need to be shared so that appropriate support is provided in order to safeguard those individuals.

The duty applies to agencies which have significant interaction with people who may be vulnerable to radicalisation. These include schools, local authorities, police forces and further and higher education providers.

The guidance requires local authorities to coordinate arrangements and oversee that each of the specified authorities are meeting the principles of the Act through activity in the following areas:

  • assess risk of radicalisation
  • develop an action plan to reduce risk
  • have trained staff to recognise radicalisation and extremism
  • work in partnership with other partners
  • be aware of referral mechanisms and refer people to Channel
  • maintain records and reports to show compliance.

We enact our duty through the Lichfield Community Safety Partnership and by membership of the Staffordshire Prevent Board.

How to make a referral

If you have an immediate concern about the risk of a crime please call the Police on 999.

Any individuals who are identified as being vulnerable to radicalisation are referred to a multi-agency Channel Panel. This ensures the appropriate interventions are put in place to protect the individual. 

Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme run in every local authority in England and Wales. It works to support vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. It provides a range of support such as mentoring, counselling and assistance with employment. Channel is about early intervention to protect vulnerable people from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity and addresses all types of extremism. 

If you have concerns that someone may be at risk of radicalisation, you can support them by making a referral by emailing the Staffordshire Police Prevent team or by calling 01785 232054

Terrorism and the internet

Terrorists often exploit the internet for both operational purposes and as a tool for radicalisation and recruitment. Huge numbers of videos, speeches, audio statements and chat forums exist on the internet designed to spread distorted interpretations of religion and world events and to encourage vulnerable members of society to engage in terrorism.

You can report terrorist content online at gov.uk.

Further information

For more information about Prevent you can visit the gov.uk website or the Let’s talk about it online resource.