Prevent in Communities

These resources and cases advocate against the use of Prevent in communities such as among people in aid organisations and charities, dissenting groups, or in mosques and community centres.  

When key funders insisted a grassroots community organisation undergo Prevent training, they refused because engaging with Prevent would destroy the trust and respect they relied upon to work. They did not get the funding and had to close key services to the community.”  

Prevent started as being targeted at the Muslim community – now it has expanded to include charities and aid groups, as well as dissenters who challenge aspects of democracy. 

Whether you work in a community organisation, or are linked to a charity or aid group, or even if you serve a mosque, these resources and cases illustrate you are not alone. 

We argue in our expert views that, among other things, the latest Home Office statistics on Prevent prove that the best alternative to Prevent is no Prevent

Prevent’s harms run right to the core of governance and society, trampling on hard-won rights including freedom of speech and association, the right to practice one’s religion safely, and the right to challenge the government through civil action.  

Prevent functions as a vast data collection mechanism in the communities it targets, and we have supported people in having their data removed from lists.  

There are ways to challenge Prevent, depending on your situation, and we can support you to do so.  

This 2015 report revealing how Muslims are being ‘governed through Prevent’’ shows how the ‘pre-crime’ approach at the core of Prevent provides the state with a means separate from due process to rule communities it alone defines as ‘suspect’.

The UN has criticised Prevent from 2018 up to the present especially about its data collection methods, its ‘chilling effect’ on speech, advocacy and association, and about its harms to children and its potential to discriminate against groups.

His anti-war demonstrations were done out of concern rather than any possible pathways to violence. He consistently told the Prevent officers he was anti-war and a pacifist. But Prevent approached him twice, once even visiting his home.”  

Why is Prevent harmful in the community?

The presence of Prevent exerts a threat over community affairs, and will often scare off funders and even halt events aimed at raising money for people in need. Traditionally, mosques and community centres have always been places of safety where different views may be exchanged and naturally moderated by teachers and peers.  

We believe that in a healthy society, the broader public space should be left to function in the same way with respect between diverse views that would build resilience organically.

Instead, Prevent harms the UK’s diverse communities because: