HMICFRS praises work of police in countering radicalisation
A new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has praised the work of police in protecting vulnerable people against radicalisation.
The report says that police forces are ‘meeting their obligations under the Prevent duty’, with inspectors seeing ‘many positive aspects’ in the way they protect young people and vulnerable adults from extremist material and radicalisers.
The paper also praised the innovation shown by the way police use hate-crime data and computer systems to better protect communities against extremists, as well as recognising that ‘policies and effective processes designed to protect people from being radicalised were in place’.
However, the report suggests improvements can be made in regards to sharing best practice and innovation across all force areas, as well as spotting ‘inconsistencies in how forms, processes and standards of referrals were used’ – calling for greater scrutiny from Prevent leads. The report makes eight recommendations, ranging from improved training packages for Prevent strategic leads, to improving police resilience to radicalisation of its own officers and staff.
The HMICFRS report also found that two police forces referred members of their own staff to the Prevent programme, designed to steer vulnerable individuals away from committing acts of terrorism. This follows the revelation that a 21-year-old frontline Metropolitan police officer was arrested on suspicion of being a member of a banned rightwing terror group.
The report also called into question the omission of the Ministry of Defence police from the list of public sector bodies subject to the Prevent statutory duty, which legally compels workers to refer concerns about extremism to the programme.
Chief Constable Simon Cole, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council on Prevent, said: “At a time when the threat to the UK from terrorism remains at record levels, with rising numbers of investigations and an extremism crisis fuelled by a largely lawless online space, I am proud policing is helping to lead the vital fight against radicalisation.
“Prevent is the only strategy that will succeed in reducing the terrorism threat in the long-term – and we must do more to champion its work and improve trust in our communities. As this report highlights, the police service can and will make improvements to the way we carry out our Prevent duties, and as the NPCC lead I will ensure every single one of the recommendations made by the HMICFRS will be met.
“But this report also recognises the outstanding work done by police forces and their Prevent officers in protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and highlights the passion, innovation and best practice that we will strive to share across the UK so that we are all better protected from those who wish to do us harm.”