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Introduction

Prevent is one part of the United Kingdom’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST) and aims to stop people from being exposed to extreme ideologies or becoming involved in or supporting terrorist activity. It is an approach that involves many agencies and communities, to safeguard people who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

The Prevent strategy covers all types of extremism, both domestic violent and non-violent extremism, including the extreme right wing, religious militantism and other causes.

Three national objectives of the Prevent strategy have been identified:

  • Objective 1: Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.
  • Objective 2: Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support.
  • Objective 3: Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.

Prevent and safeguarding in Somerset

The Government’s revised Prevent strategy was launched in July 2015. With the associated Prevent Duty last updated in 2021. Its key objectives are to challenge the ideology that supports extremism and terrorism and those who promote it through safeguarding. It uses a multi-agency approach, similar to that used for dealing with safeguarding issues such as Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) to prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into extremism and terrorism.

This approach ensures that Prevent achieves its purpose of safeguarding vulnerable individuals who are at risk of radicalisation from extremist groups.

Our Prevent objectives - training

Training and Awareness

All ‘specified’ authorities under the Prevent Duty must ensure that appropriate frontline staff, including those of its contractors, have a good understanding of Prevent. They should be trained to recognise vulnerability to being drawn into terrorism and are aware of available programmes to deal with this issue.

To facilitate this new Prevent Duty Training an e-learning programme has been launched where staff can learn about:

  • the Prevent duty
  • different forms of extremism and terrorism
  • the risk around radicalisation and your supportive role
  • making a Prevent referral that is both informed and made with good intention
  • the interventions and support available

The courses are available on the Prevent duty training (GOV.UK) page and gives you access to the following courses:

  • Prevent awareness – This course has been refreshed and updated with new case studies to provide an overview of the Prevent programme and what to do if you spot a concerning behaviours.
  • Prevent referrals – This training shares best practice on how to articulate concerns about an individual and ensure that they are robust and considered and aims to give them confidence in making a referral. You must complete the Prevent Awareness course before undertaking this module. It should be noted that the course is based on national information. In Somerset, we have a local referral process which links to existing and established safeguarding process.
  • Channel or Prevent Multi-Agency Panel (PMAP)  – This course is for anyone who may be asked to contribute to, sit on, or run a Channel panel. You must complete the Prevent Awareness and Referrals courses before undertaking this module.
  • Refresher awareness – This is a condensed version of the awareness course and is for anyone who has already completed the awareness course and would like a reminder of the key points.

More training resources that are nationally available are listed in the ‘More Information section’.

ACT Early

The Action Counters Terrorism website is a tool for engaging with people from all communities. It is an initiative developed by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit Counter-Terrorism Policing, to provide practical help and guidance to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The aim of the site is to give people a clear and better understanding of both Prevent and Channel, while providing signposting and support for people who are concerned that someone they know may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

The site also has useful information about how to spot the signs that someone may be being radicalised and provides tips on how you can protect yourself.

How to report a concern

To report a concern, firstly share your information with your Designated Safeguarding lead and follow your organisation’s due process as per the training guidelines.

Contact options

1. If a prevent referral or further advice is required, contact the Police Prevent team

Police Prevent Team
Phone: 01278 647466 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. For out of hours advice, phone 101
Email: channelsw@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk

Prevent National Referral Form

2. Referral process chart.

3. For advice, support and training enquiries

Local Authority Prevent lead – Lucy Macready, Public Health Specialist Community Safety
Email: prevent@somerset.gov.uk

4. For safeguarding support and advice

Customer Contact
Phone: 0300 123 2224 – Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm

Report online terrorist material

Tackling extremist material is important to protect the public and prevent offences that incite or promote terrorism and extremism.

The internet is the most likely and most prominent delivery method exploited by extreme groups seeking to radicalise vulnerable people into pledging support. This is by promoting views of extreme content, the reading of extremist publications, online speaking events and communication.

You can report online extremist and terrorist material on the Home Office website.

You can report:

  • articles, images, speeches or videos that promote terrorism or encourage violence
  • content encouraging people to commit acts of terrorism
  • websites made by terrorist or extremist organisations
  • videos of terrorist attacks

The iREPORTit app

On 24 February 2021 a new mobile app was launched to support the anonymous reporting of online content of concern. The iREPORTit app has been introduced as a much simpler way to report sites of concern and is an alternative to going through the Home Office website.

There are two A4 posters which have all the information you need to get the app. To see them and to access the QR codes, just open the links below.

Poster one
Poster two

Prevent in the community

Safeguarding is the primary objective of the Prevent Duty in Somerset. If you have any concerns that someone in your community is vulnerable or susceptible to radicalisation by extremists, please contact the Police Prevent Referral team on 01179 455 536 or email channelsw@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk

Channel Panel

What is Channel?

Channel is a key element of the Prevent Strategy and Local Authority Channel Panels are a statutory requirement under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Channel Panel is a multi-agency approach to identify and provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism, including people holding and expressing violent extremist views.

The aim of the programme is early intervention and diverting people away from potential risk. Channel involves agencies working together to give individuals access to services such as health and education, specialist mentoring and diversionary activities.

Channel provides early support for anyone who is vulnerable to being drawn into any form of terrorism or supporting terrorist organisations, regardless of age, faith, ethnicity, or background. Individuals can receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those who want them to embrace terrorism, and before they become involved in terrorist -related activity. While it remains rare for children and young people to become involved in terrorist activity, young people from an early age can be exposed to terrorist and extremist influences or prejudiced views. As with other forms of safeguarding strategies, early intervention is always preferable.

The Panel: 

Core membership of the Panel comprises:

  • Channel Chair, Somerset Council currently designated to Public Health Specialist, Community Safety, Somerset Council;
  • Deputy Channel Chair, Somerset Council currently designated to Health Promotion Manager Equalities
  • Prevent Lead / deputy – NHS Mental Health provider (Somerset Foundation Trust)
  • Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Adults, NHS Somerset
  • Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children, NHS Somerset
  • Operations Manager First Response, Early Help Hub and EDT, Somerset Council
  • Strategic Manager, Adults Services, Somerset Council
  • Local Police Neighbourhood Chief Inspector, Avon and Somerset Police
  • South West Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit

Representatives from services / organisations will also be invited to attend meetings where they are relevant to individual cases. These include but are not limited to:

  • Social workers
  • Schools, further education colleges and universities
  • Youth offending services
  • Local authority Troubled Families Teams
  • Home Office Immigration (Immigration Enforcement, UK Visas and Immigration)
  • Border Force
  • Housing
  • Prisons
  • Probation
  • Intervention providers

Referrals – referrals are made via the Prevent referral process. Please see the section ‘How to report a concern’.

Governance and Accountability: 

The Channel Panel is accountable to the Safer Somerset Partnership and will provide data on a quarterly basis. The Safer Somerset Partnership will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Channel Duties.

The Channel panel in its entirety holds responsibility for the terrorism-related vulnerabilities of a case, meaning the adequate provision and review of supportive interventions around the complex needs and causes of the terrorism-related concern.

Statutory partners are responsible for the safeguarding around an individual’s intrinsic and contextual vulnerabilities that can be exploited by others, or that may exacerbate the complex needs of an individual, to the extent that this individual may be drawn increasingly towards terrorism offending.

The police are responsible for the identification and mitigation of imminent risks of individuals mobilising towards any terrorism offences, and the desistance of such high-risk and/or criminal behaviours.

The risk relating to the individual’s terrorism vulnerability is held by the Channel panel. This involves ensuring the risk posed to the individual from being drawn into terrorism or from wider safeguarding harms is addressed and reduced.

Escalation

Panel members are able to escalate challenges or concerns arising from the Panel to the Safer Somerset Partnership Chair.  This can be done via email at communitysafetyteam@somerset.gov.uk.

The Prevent Duty is about safeguarding. It is a way to support vulnerable people who may be at risk of being radicalised.

You can make a report to the Prevent Referral Team on 01179 455 536 or by emailing channelsw@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk.

This is then passed onto the Channel Police Practitioner. This role reviews if the individual is vulnerable.

A person can be considered vulnerable or susceptible to radicalisation if they:

  • feel a sense of social isolation or expressions of an ‘us and them’
  • exhibit social isolation – losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, distancing themselves from friends and social groups
  • have low self-esteem
  • are experiencing a personal crisis
  • are individuals with feelings of unmet aspirations or a sense of injustice
  • are being overly secretive about their online viewing
  • are becoming more argumentative or domineering in their viewpoints, being quick to condemn those who disagree and ignoring views that contradict their own
  • are downloading or promoting extremist content
  • may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging
  • have a pre-existing conviction that their religion or culture is under threat
  • have abnormal routines, travel patterns or aspirations
  • have Special Educational Needs – social interaction, difficulties emphasising with others and being able to understanding the consequences of their actions, and being aware of the motivations of others
  • have a need for adventure or excitement
  • have a history of criminal behaviour

After this an assessment is made to decide if it should go to the Channel Panel.

Examples of assessment criteria points

  • Is the vulnerable individual being drawn into extremism or terrorism?
  • Should the individual be referred to a Channel support mechanism?
  • Should the individual exit the process and be helped by other safeguarding processes?

In Somerset the Channel Panel is chaired by Somerset Council, and a Channel Police Practitioner is also present. Depending on the case, senior statutory partners are invited, such as housing, mental health, community representatives, social care and education sector colleagues, to gather and discuss the individual’s safeguarding concerns, vulnerability and potential intervention.

In assessing the risk, consideration should be given to

  • the risk the individual faces of being drawn into extremism or terrorism
  • the risk the individual poses to society

If I refer an individual to Prevent, will this be traceable through checks in the future?

The Prevent referral system does not criminalise people for holding extreme views. It does not result in the person referred having a criminal record through the Disclose and Barring Service (DBS) formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

A crime will only be recorded if the individual has committed an actual crime that falls within the criminal justice system or under the Counter Terrorism Act. As an early intervention process, it operates as a safeguarding process to protect from radicalisation with appropriate support.

Prevent and freedom of speech

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act acknowledges that alongside the Prevent Duty ‘a specified authority must have particular regard to the duty to ensure freedom of speech.’

It is important, especially in educational establishments, that enough time is provided for discussion, debate and respectful exchange of views around Prevent and extremism.

Everyone is entitled to their own political view or opinion, but no one should enforce one view over that of others.

Prevent and equality and diversity

The Prevent Duty states that action taken under the duty ‘must not involve any covert activity against people or communities’ and therefore individuals are to have due regard, as identified under the Public Sector Equality Duty, to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation
  • foster good relations between people who share differing views

The promotion of equality and diversity and British values is at the heart of the Prevent Duty. It should be demonstrated through all its practices in tackling any instances of discrimination and being alert to potential risks from radicalisation and extremism.

More information

Counter Terrorism Policing

Act Early – a website designed to increase awareness of the signs of radicalisation, where to go for help and support, and to increase understanding and confidence in the referral process.

An award-wining counter terrorist training course is being made available to the public for the first time. The ACT awareness eLearning package has been opened up to anyone who wants to become a counter terrorist citizen, so they can learn how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and understand what to do in the event of a major incident.

Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Training Opportunities

The ACT campaign – the webpage has useful information and includes the Run Hide Tell video

Making a complaint

Complaints regarding the application of Prevent can be reported to the Standards and Compliance Unit.

The role of the Standards and Compliance Unit is to make sure anyone applying the Prevent duty, or providing training on Prevent, follows the right process and standards.

It provides a clear and accessible route for both the public and practitioners to raise concerns about the activity of Prevent.

Who can make a complaint

Anyone can make a complaint to Standards and Compliance Unit about the application of Prevent.

Complaints, concerns or feedback could be about, but not limited to:

  • Training received on Prevent
  • Whether an organisation is upholding the Prevent Duty
  • Prevent not being delivered by an individual or organisation within the ethos of the Independent Review of Prevent and as agreed by Ministers.
  • Inappropriate Prevent referrals, or missed opportunities to refer individuals.

How to make a complaint

You will find the Standards and Compliance Unit Complaints form and guidance on how to complete it on the Gov.uk website.

Last reviewed: April 16, 2024 by Jenny

Next review due: October 16, 2024

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