Prevent is ‘best chance’ of reducing the threat from terrorism
The national head of Counter Terrorism Policing has stressed that the Prevent programme is the UK’s ‘best chance’ of reducing the threat from terrorism.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that without better support for the Prevent part of the government’s CONTEST strategy, the UK is likely to continue facing a SEVERE threat level (meaning an attack is highly likely) for years to come.
Prevent aims to safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention and enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.
Counter Terror Policing is currently working on a record number of just under 800 investigations, and since March 2017, the police and intelligence services have stopped 19 attacks – 14 being Islamist related and five Extreme Right Wing (XRW).
Basu also recognised that a lack of communication in the earlier years of the Prevent strategy had allowed critics to gain too strong a voice, urging for ‘better communication, more transparency and no longer allowing an information vacuum to give people opportunity to attack Prevent without any rebuttal’.
Basu said: “Prevent is the most important pillar of CONTEST. In an ideal world you don’t want to have to investigate murder in Counter Terrorism work, and the best way to stop them happening is to identify a problem before people even think about becoming terrorists.
“The only way you can do that is to get right to the start of the radicalisation cycle and understand why it is happening. When you understand why, you can then place protections around people to stop it and protect them from further risk of harm. If we do not have a proper preventative strategy in place, then we will be running at a high threat level for the foreseeable future.”