What is Prevent?

Prevent is about safeguarding vulnerable individuals from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, by engaging with people vulnerable to radicalisation and protecting them from being targeted by terrorist recruiters.

Prevent uses a similar approach to public health models, which focus on prevention. Focusing solely on confronting ideologies alone will not undermine terrorism. Prevent provides holistic support to address some of the personal and social conditions which make vulnerable people receptive to radicalisation.

The delivery of Prevent requires the support of local communities, local partnerships and local leaders to be implemented effectively. Prevent is an extension of existing multi-agency safeguarding principles to tackle terrorism in all its forms.

Prevent is not a spying mechanism, focussed on any religion or ethnicity, or an attempt to stifle free speech.

How are people vulnerable to radicalisation supported?

Channel is the early intervention element of Prevent. It provides bespoke support to children and adults identified as vulnerable to radicalisation, before their vulnerabilities are exploited by terrorist recruiters and before they become involved in criminal terrorist related activity.

Channel works like other safeguarding interventions, identifying individuals at risk through referral, assessing the nature and extent of the risk and developing a support plan for them. It is a voluntary and confidential programme.

Channel takes a multi-agency approach, involving a range of partners including the local authority, the police, education, social services, health providers and others to tailor the support plan to the individual’s needs.

Types of support

The type of support available is wide-ranging and bespoke. It can include:

  • Help with accessing other mainstream services, such as education or career advice
  • Dealing with mental or emotional health issues
  • Support with drug/alcohol abuse
  • Theological or ideological mentoring from a specialist Channel Intervention Provider, who works with the individual on a one-on-one basis.

Anyone can make a Prevent referral. Referrals come from a wide range of partners, including the police, health professionals, schools, youth offending teams and children and adult services as well as members of the public.

How can you help?

Family and friends know when something is not right. You can spot worrying behaviour at an early stage and help the person you care about get the support they may need to move away from extremism.

The journey to becoming radicalised is different for everyone and there are many reasons why a person becomes vulnerable. Sometimes the person’s behaviour can be linked to other issues and is not connected to radicalisation. If you are not sure, you could talk to other friends or family members first and they may help you decide if it is the right time to seek help.

How to make a referral

If you’re concerned someone you know is at risk of getting involved in terrorism or extremism, you can complete our Wigan National Prevent referral form:

If you would like to discuss your concerns before making a referral, you can:

If it is an emergency, please call 999.

What happens once a Prevent referral is made?

When the Prevent referral form has been submitted, it will carry an official sensitive protective marking, which means that the information will need to be handled with risk appropriate security measures.

On receipt of the referral form, the local authority will assess if there are any immediate safeguarding concerns for the individual, while Counter Terrorism Policing North West will assess whether there are any radicalisation concerns. There are three potential outcomes for a referral:

  • Closed no further action – referrer will be informed, and the case will be signposted if necessary
  • Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW) will manage the concerns raised
  • Referral to Channel – for consideration of multi-agency support. The referrer will be contacted as part of the assessment process by the Channel Coordinator.

The Greater Manchester Channel Team will note the Prevent referral for monitoring and reporting purposes.

Data privacy

Your personal information, supplied for the purposes of Channel, will be held and processed by the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF. The Home Office is the controller of this information. This also includes when it is collected or processed by third parties on our behalf.

Conflict in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories – Guidance in respect of Prevent Referrals 

The emergence of heightened violence between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories may have a knock-on effect on inter-faith relations, hate crime incidents and exploitation by extremists here in the UK. As such, please find detailed below a short refresher on Prevent referrals, thresholds, and incidents in schools in order to help provide clarity in conversations with stakeholders and partners.

Prevent Referrals

Prevent seeks to intervene early, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.  Where someone is concerned a person may have been deliberately exposed to harmful terrorist narratives, it is right that they refer them to the necessary authorities. A Prevent referral does not amount to an accusation of criminality.  Rather, it allows for a multi-agency assessment to be conducted and support to be provided to help divert people from engaging in harmful activity.  Through this referral, the person will be able to receive the vital support they need. 

All referrals to Prevent are carefully assessed based on the specific details of the case.  If a person is found to not be at risk of radicalisation, the case is immediately closed to Prevent. They may be referred to other appropriate services, or no further action may be taken.

Lawful non-violent protest or activism does not meet the threshold for Prevent referrals.  Holding legitimate political views is not an indicator for extremism provided they are not expressed or furthered by statements, deeds or actions which result in harassment, intimidation, or threats of violence against individuals or society itself. 

Encouragement of terrorism, including glorifying the commission or preparation of acts of terrorism, fundraising for the purposes of terrorism, and inviting support for a proscribed terrorist organisation, are all criminal offences. Hamas are a proscribed terrorist organisation (external link) in the UK.

Prevent and Schools

Many young people will have a strong personal interest in these issues, and we are aware that in some schools this may lead to political activity by older pupils.  Schools should ensure that political expression by pupils is done sensitively, avoiding disruption and feelings of intimidation, or targeting for other pupils and staff. Schools should also make every effort to ensure that this activity does not extend to discriminatory bullying or involve the expression of antisemitic, anti-Muslim, or other discriminatory views.  Where this does happen, the Department for Education expect schools to deal with these incidents with all due seriousness, in line with their behaviour policy. 

Depending on the circumstances, safeguarding leads may also look to determine whether abusive and discriminatory views expressed or shared by pupils are representative of a wider susceptibility and consider the appropriateness of engaging with support through the Prevent programme. We trust teachers and other staff to exercise their professional judgment about whether a referral is appropriate, as they do for all other safeguarding risks.

Further training and more discussion around radicalisation will help in addressing this, and advice and guidance is available to support safeguarding leads in making these decisions:

Schools should also be mindful of their legal duties regarding political impartiality and should always avoid working organisations that promote antisemitic, anti-Muslim or any other discriminatory views. The Department for Education has published clear and comprehensive guidance to help those working with and in schools to better understand legal duties on political impartiality:

Do you wish to make a complaint about how the Prevent duty has been applied?

The Standards and Compliance Unit is part of the Commission for Countering Extremism and will investigate complaints about how the Prevent duty has been applied.

The Standards and Compliance Unit (StaCU) has been set up to make sure anyone applying the Prevent duty (external link), or providing training on Prevent, follows the right process and standards.

StaCU has been created in response to recommendation 34 of the Independent Review of Prevent (external link) to process and investigate complaints from both Prevent practitioners and the general public.

StaCU is independent of Prevent and accepts any complaints about 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.

For more information and to make a complaint online, please visit GOV.UK (external link).

Further Resources 

Particularly in relation to the conflict, and any antisemitic or anti-Muslim incidents emanating as a result of this, you may find the below links useful:

© Wigan Council