The Home Office’s soon-to-be-released Prevent review has been beset with criticism and boycotts – and one campaign group isn’t taking the review lying down: Prevent Watch.
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A four-year-old boy’s referral to the government’s anti-extremism Prevent strategy after talking about the popular Fortnite video game at his after-school club has prompted fresh calls to abolish the controversial scheme. The boy, who is from the West Midlands and is a Muslim, was referred to Prevent in September 2019 after saying that his father had “guns and bombs in his shed”. However, transcripts of a conversation with a club worker reveal that the reference to weaponry was linked to Fortnite. The child’s mother believes that if her boy were white and not a Muslim he wouldn’t have been considered at risk of radicalisation. In the first (anonymous) interview from a parent of an under-six referred to Prevent, she described her upset at police turning up at the family home at 10.30pm. “It could have gone really wrong. I worry armed police could have come to my house and, you
Boy who was referred to Prevent over misinformed ‘terror concerns’ wins case against Met Police | Asian Image
An aspiring doctor who was referred to Prevent over “misinformed” claims that he was “obsessed” with killing David Cameron must have his personal data deleted by the Metropolitan Police, the High Court has ruled. The boy – known only as II – was 11 when a tutor raised concerns in December 2015 that he allegedly wanted to kill the then prime minister, had spoken about “America being evil” and said he “liked Game Of Thrones because of the beheadings”. Officers with the Prevent anti-radicalisation programme spoke to his mother, NK, who said her son had recently written a letter he wanted to send to Mr Cameron which “spoke of peace and unity throughout the world”. Source: Boy who was referred to Prevent over misinformed ‘terror concerns’ wins case against Met Police | Asian Image
5Pillars has been told that two schools in the UK have been trying to train Muslim pupils to effectively spy on each other. Prevent Watch, which monitors the government’s controversial counter-extremism programme, told 5Pillars that the schools, one in Birmingham and one in Slough, have been training, or attempting to train, their pupils in the Prevent strategy. All schools are required to deliver the Prevent duty and “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.” However, it has been assumed until now that teachers are responsible for delivering Prevent and this is the first time that we have heard of pupils themselves being trained to deliver the strategy. 5Pillars spoke to a 17 year old pupil at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College in Birmingham, which has an overwhelming majority Muslim intake. The student told us that around a month ago his whole year group had been trained to look out
Environment and animal rights activists being referred to Prevent programme | UK news | The Guardian
Types of ‘concerns’ identified include far-left and anti-Isis extremism, FoI request reveals Environmental and animal rights activists have been referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation programme, the Home Office has admitted. Responding to a freedom of information request, the Home Office provided a breakdown of reasons behind referrals of individuals to its Channel programme, an arm of Prevent, for “other types of radicalisation.’’ Environmental and animal rights were among types of “concerns” identified among individuals referred, as well far-left extremism, Northern Ireland-related extremism, “anti-Isil” and Sikh-related extremism. Source: Environment and animal rights activists being referred to Prevent programme | UK news | The Guardian
Students’ university essays reported to police under ‘overzealous’ government counter-terror measures | The Independent
Students have had their university essays investigated by police and faced questioning by staff under government counter-terror measures, The Independent can reveal. Campaigners and experts warn that free speech is being stifled on campus and trust destroyed because of the “overzealous” Prevent programme, with students and lecturers becoming “suspects and informants”. Freedom of Information requests reveal that academic materials have been flagged in response to the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy – but it is understood that no action has been taken against students. Source: Students’ university essays reported to police under ‘overzealous’ government counter-terror measures | The Independent
SCHOOLS in St Helens are increasingly flagging up concerns that pupils may be in danger of being radicalised, a council meeting has heard. Source: Schools are ‘massive’ referrer to St Helens’ anti-radicalisation programme | St Helens Star
The Prevent Duty
The Prevent Duty is championed by the government as an effective strategy to prevent terrorism, however, evidence suggests this is having an adverse effect on communities. Thousands of Prevent referrals are made each year but very few of them lead to any intervention.
Prevent Watch has supported hundreds of people impacted by Prevent. Our case studies show a huge failing of the Prevent Duty. We provide a free helpline with dedicated case workers to support people impacted by the Prevent Duty. We provide access to lawyers, media, research and much more.
What we’re working on
The People’s Review of Prevent
On 12 February 2019, the government committed to carrying out an independent review of Prevent. We explain why the Government’s review of Prevent resulted in a boycott across civic society and the resultant alternative, the People’s Review of Prevent.
The Trojan Horse Affair
The Trojan Horse Affair ensured the Prevent was embedded in legislation under the guise of safeguarding. We analyse the events that unfolded in 2014 to reveal how they impact Prevent as we know it today.
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We are incredibly grateful for your ongoing support.
Dr Layla Aitlhadj
Director, Prevent Watch