Issue 02  September 2018

What is Prevent?


Prevent is about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism. Prevent is 1 of the 4 elements of CONTEST, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

What does Prevent do?

The main aim of Prevent is to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

At the heart of Prevent is safeguarding children and adults and providing early intervention to protect and divert people away from being drawn into terrorist activity.

Prevent addresses all forms of terrorism, but continues to ensure resources and effort are allocated on the basis of threats to our national security.

Prevent works with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to deal with.

The three main objectives of the Prevent strategy are:

  1. Respond to the ideological challenge we face from terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat we face from those who promote these views.
  2. Provide practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given the appropriate advice and support.
  3. Work with a wide range of sectors (including education, health, faith groups, charities, and the local authority) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to deal with.
What has this got to do with me?

It’s the law. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a legal duty on specified authorities, including the police, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This is also known as the ‘Prevent duty’.

It places a number of responsibilities on those authorities and their partners and it is important that they:

  • Understand what radicalisation and extremism are and why people may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism as a consequence.
  • Know what measures are available to prevent people from becoming drawn into terrorism and how to challenge the extremist ideology that can be associated with it.
  • Understand how to obtain support for people who may be being exploited by radicalising influences.
Remember that safeguarding vulnerable people from radicalisation is no different to safeguarding them from other forms of potential harm.

What is Radicalisation and Extremism?

Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism.

Extremism is defined as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.

Spotting the signs

There is no single profile that could highlight someone as vulnerable to radicalisation. We go through various stages in our lives that can make us potentially vulnerable to outside influences (including radical influences). Our age, sex, race, religion or nationality do not make us any less or any more susceptible to radicalisation. However, individual circumstances, experiences or state of mind could lead towards a terrorist ideology.

Remember that safeguarding vulnerable people from radicalisation is no different to safeguarding them from other forms of potential harm.

What is channel

Channel provides support to those identified as being vulnerable to radicalisation. It is a multi-agency group with the aim of providing early intervention and diverting people away from the terrorist harm they may face.

Channel is consensual and is about offering support to vulnerable people and not about spying on them. It works by partners jointly assessing the nature and the extent of the risk, and where necessary providing an appropriate support package tailored to the individual’s needs.

The three key stages of channel are:

  1. Identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
  2. Assess the nature and extent of that risk.
  3. Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

Examples of support provided through Channel could include mentoring, activities such as sport, or signposting to mainstream services such as education, employment or housing. Support is always tailored to specific needs of the individual following assessment by the multi-agency panel.

Individuals referred to Channel are not criminalised at any stage and will not end up with a criminal record (unless they commit a criminal offence).

What you need to remember

We all have a duty, in law, to report concerns about an individual that we suspect may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

  • Prevent is not a police programme and it will not become one.
  • The Prevent strategy is not about criminalising people but about preventing tragedies through early intervention, diverting people away from the risk they face before illegality occurs.
  • If you are concerned about an individual, please complete an intelligence report and ask that it be sent to the Counter-Terrorism Department. Remember, if there are additional concerns about the individual, such as child protection, these will need to be submitted using the appropriate form/referral method.

Who to contact

If you see or hear something that could be terrorist related call the Police Hotline on 0800 789 321

If you’re concerned about someone in your community please contact your local police force by dialling 101 or if you require urgent police assistance dial 999.

The Iceberg

When we think about terrorism we often think of the attacks. The attack is the tip of the iceberg.

We don’t tend to think of everything that has to happen beforehand or activity that is below the water line. What we mustn’t forget is that before an attack, there has to have been a period of days, weeks, months or even years in advance of recruitment, fundraising and radicalisation. These are some of the hidden aspects of terrorism and they can happen anywhere.

Staying safe online

Social Media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, are a great way to connect with friends and family, share your thoughts and ideas and connect with like-minded people. The Internet and Social Media are also used by Extremists and Terrorist to promote their ideology and recruit or radicalise people.

Remember, we all have a duty to report any concerns

Be curious

The Safer Devon Partnership, Devon Safeguarding Children Board, Devon and Cornwall Police and local authorities from across Devon have come together to raise awareness of three issues affecting our communities:

  • Violent extremism and radicalisation
  • Child sexual exploitation
  • Modern slavery.

The aim of Be Curious is to encourage people across the county to look out for signs of exploitation in their communities.

You can get involved with the campaign via Twitter: @SaferDevon on Facebook: by using #BeCurious and sharing these campaign animations:

Violent Extremism

Child Sexual Exploitation

Modern Slavery

Useful Phone Numbers

Modern Slavery Helpline: 0800 0121 700

Child Sexual Exploitation Helpline: 01332 585371

Anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321

More information

Be Curious information document
(for professionals)

New campaign encourages public to ‘Be Curious’
(press release)

GOV.UK – Modern slavery

NSPCC – Child sexual exploitation

Devon & Cornwall Police – Violent extremism and radicalisation

Preventing violent extremism

The Prevent strategy is part of the UK Counter-Terrorism Strategy known as Contest.

The strategy involves thousands of people – police and intelligence officers, the emergency services, local authorities, businesses, voluntary and community organisations, governments and other partners – working in together across the UK and the world to protect the public.

The strategy has four key elements:

  • Pursue – to stop terrorist attacks
  • Prevent – to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
  • Protect – to strengthen our protection against terrorist attack
  • Prepare – where an attack cannot be stopped, to lessen its impact
Safeguarding Officers
Laura Osborne and Kevin Clarkson

Safeguarding Lead
Simon Mills

24hr helpline 07921 030263