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Islamist referrals to Prevent rise for first time since 2016

The number of people referred to the UK’s flagship counter extremism programme over suspected Islamist radicalisation has risen for the first time in four years.

Figures were released following a wave of ISIS-inspired attacks in mainland Europe, with the data showing that almost 1,500 people were considered by the Prevent programme over concerns linked to Islamist extremism in the year to March, up six per cent on the previous year.

A Home Office document confirmed that this is the first year-on-year increase in referrals for concerns related to Islamist radicalisation since the year ending March 2016.

The newly released figures showed that of a total 6,287 referrals to Prevent, 3,203 (51 per cent) were for individuals with a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology. A total of 1,487 referrals (24 per cent) were due to concerns over Islamist radicalisation and 1,387 (22 per cent) related to right-wing radicalisation.

The largest age group referred was children and young people aged 20 and under, mainly the result of referrals coming from education workers who are bound to raise concerns formally under the controversial Prevent ‘duty’. The data shows that there were 1,559 children under the age of 15 referred in the year and 1,864 15 to 20-year-olds.

Of those referred, 27 per cent required no further action and half were passed on to other services, such as education, housing and mental health, for alternative support. A further 23 per cent were considered by the Channel counter radicalisation scheme, which sees people paired with ‘intervention providers’ to help combat the ideology as their progress is regularly reviewed.

The largest group taken into the Channel process were far-right extremists (43 per cent), followed by Islamists (30 per cent) and then people with a mixed, unstable or unclear ideology (18 per cent) and other radicalisation concerns (eight per cent).

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