Prevent Watch

Research & Reports

Research & Reports

The following reports and journal articles on the Prevent policy are crucial reading for those wishing to gain a fuller and more realistic view of the impact of counter extremism on Muslims and other targeted groups.

People’s Review of Prevent: The real impact of the Prevent policy based on 600 cases

We are pleased to launch the People’s Review of Prevent, an alternative to the review of the Prevent policy, which was conducted for the government by William Shawcross, but is still being delayed after three years.

We have worked with people impacted by Prevent, experts on the Prevent policy and lawyers working on Prevent cases, to provide this crucial report highlighting the real impact of the Prevent policy and counter extremism.

Racism, Mental Health and Pre-Crime Policing: The Ethics of Vulnerability Support Hubs


May 2021

This report exposes a secretive counterterrorism police-led mental health project called ‘Vulnerability Support Hubs’. Thousands of individuals suspected of potential ‘extremism’ – a vague and racialised term which the government itself has tried and failed to legally define – have been assessed by the hubs, in which mental health  professionals collude with counterterrorism police officers. What is the potential impact?

The Prevent Duty in UK Higher Education: Insights from FOI Requests

The British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Dec 2020

Drawing upon 157 responses to Freedom of Information Requests sent to Higher Education Institutions across England, Scotland and Wales, this report explores how the Prevent Duty has been enacted within UK higher education. The article shows how the duty has seen considerable repositioning and restructuring across the sector, conflated counter terrorism with safeguarding and introduced further bureaucracy.

False Positives: The Prevent Counter-Extremism Policy in Healthcare


July 2020

The report examines the implementation and impacts of the Prevent duty in the NHS, looking at the interaction between the duty and other professional duties across different NHS settings. It concludes that: there is racial and religious disproportionality in who is reported; people with mental health conditions are more likely to be reported; there are acute ethical concerns with Vulnerability Support Hubs; Prevent referrals can damage patient health, by impacting therapeutic relationships, interrupting care, and even triggering mental health problems.

Islam and Muslims on UK University Campuses: Perceptions and Challenges

SOAS University of London | Durham University | Coventry University | Lancaster University

July 2020

This report offers the first cross-sector examination of how Muslims are viewed, treated and subjected to processes of inclusion and exclusion within UK universities; it also examines how Muslims themselves view life on UK campuses. It focuses on their experiences of university and on how they are viewed by non-Muslim students. 

Leaving the War on Terror

The Transnational Institute

Sept 2019

This report offers an account of the failures of current counter-terrorism policies, an analysis of the reasons why they do not work and an outline of a progressive alternative that we hope will be the basis for a future Labour government’s approach.

The Prevent Strategy and the UK ‘War on Terror’: Embedding Infrastructures of Surveillance in Muslim Communities

Palgrave Communications

Feb 2018

The Prevent policy was introduced in the UK in 2003 as part of an overall post 9/11 counter-terrorism approach (CONTEST), with the aim of preventing the radicalisation of individuals to terrorism. In 2015, the Prevent policy became a legal duty for public sector institutions, and as such, its reach has extended much deeper into society.

Leeds Beckett University, Institute for Race Relations

Oct 2017

This report offers an accessible and evidence-based insight into how Muslim communities primarily experience and resist the intense and disproportionate focus of Prevent and the harms it can cause. We hear from 36 individuals, a large proportion of whom are from Yorkshire, including young Muslims, professionals who have worked with Prevent, academics, teachers, faith leaders, race-equality practitioners and charity experts.

Prevent Digest

The Prevent Digest is a monthly press and commentary digest of Prevent, ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’. The digest is emailed to a wide range of concerned citizens, academics, journalists and policymakers. We recommend you sign up.

Blurred Lines and False Dichotomies: Integrating Counterinsurgency into the UK’s Domestic ‘War on Terror’

Liverpool John Moores University, Critical Social Policy

Jan 2017

This journal article demonstrates
that Prevent is based on a framework of  counter-insurgency. This blurs the distinction between Pursue and Prevent, coercion and consent, and civilian and combatant.

Dealing with PREVENT-Related Pressure

PREVENT is a reality on all of our campuses. It shapes much of our engagement with our institutions, in particular our ability to hold events and run campaigns. This briefing from Students not Suspects provides some guidance on how to deal with PREVENT infringing on students’ right to organise and hold events.

Counter Terrorism in the NHS: Evaluating Prevent Duty Safeguarding


Among the first empirical studies of how healthcare workers are trained to perform a counterterrorism role, this report evidences that safeguarding professionals are demonstrably concerned that they are operating in a ‘grey area’ with Prevent, and that significant differences exist between Prevent Duty safeguarding and normal safeguarding. This report contributed to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ enquiry into the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill, and was cited in support of an independent review of Prevent.

Counter Terrorism and Psychiatry

Sept 2016

A position statement on the Prevent policy by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, this document highlights concerns about the implementation of Prevent, especially on the variable quality of the evidence underpinning the strategy, and potential conflicts with the duties of a doctor. The RCP also states that Prevent could reduce the willingness of people to access mental health treatment.

The Experience of Muslim Students in 2017-18

March 2018

A collaboration between
NUS’ Women’s and Black Students’ campaigns, this report is the result of a survey that was as an attempt to resolve questions such as “What does it mean to be Muslim in Britain today?”
It highlights the impact of Prevent on Muslim students and student organisations, with 80% of ISoc president respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that the Prevent duty has had a negative impact on their society, with some commenting a decline in membership due to concerns of surveillance by authorities.

The Globalisation of Countering Violent Extremism Policies

March 2018

The UK Prevent policy is cited as an example in global countering violent extremism (CVE) practice, and it is being globalised, sanitised and presented as highly effective. This research evidences that the most problematic elements of CVE frameworks are being transposed and adopted uncritically – then backed with substantial amounts of funding and technical assistance.

Freedom of Speech at Universities

March 2018

Ordered by the House of Lords and House of Commons, these are the formal minutes relating to the Joint Committee for Human Rights report into Freedom of Speech at universities. The JCHR reiterates its call for an independent review of the Prevent policy, and such a report should especially include whether it is fit for purpose in higher education, and its impact on freedom of speech and association.

Preventing Prevent: A Handbook for Students

Nov 2017

Ahead of the Students not Suspects tour, the Black Students’ Campaign relaunched their Preventing Prevent handbook, a comprehensive resource for students’ unions, officers and organisers to deconstruct and campaign against the government’s racist and repressive counter-terrorism strategy.
This a fully revised and expanded edition of the original Preventing Prevent handbook (2015), and reflects changes in legislation, case studies from student-led campaigns and movement knowledge. It includes a new section exploring how Prevent impacts Muslim women and advice for student sabbatical officers.

'We are Completely Independent': The Home Office, Breakthrough Media and Prevent

May 2016

This ground-breaking report reveals that the Home Office and a secretive government department called RICU, the Research, Information and Communications Unit, have been cultivating a network of ‘grass roots’ Muslim voices to promote state-scripted narratives. All of this is taking place with no public debate or oversight.

The ‘Science’ of Pre-Crime: The Secret ‘Radicalisation’ Study Underpinning Prevent

Sept 2016

The government uses a system of 22 factors known commonly as the ERG22+ to train public sector employees to spot signs of ‘vulnerability to extremism’ under Prevent. This report detailed for the first time how the government produced these factors in secret, and subsequently relied on an evidence base that was not only unproven, but extended far beyond its original remit.

Eroding Trust: The UK’s Prevent Counter-Extremism Strategy in Health and Education

Oct 2016

At extensive 152-page report based on over 87 interviews, legal research and public material, this Open Society Justice Initiative assesses the human rights impact of Prevent in the health and education sectors, in particular on the trust they need to function effectively. It concludes that Prevent creates a serious risk of human rights violations, that it is counterproductive, and that it is damaging the trust on which public service is built.

Preventing Education? Human Rights and UK Counter-Terrorism Policy in Schools

July 2016

Of key interest to those working on children’s rights, this report provided the most comprehensive analysis to date of the effect of Prevent counter extremism policy in UK schools. It sets out the key problems in the development of the strategy and its impact on students, especially children, and finds that it is leaving a generation of young Britons fearful of exercising their rights to freedom of expression and belief. Furthermore, it warns that Prevent risks being counter-productive by driving children to discuss issues related to terrorism, religion and identity outside the classroom and online where simplistic narratives are promoted and go unchallenged.

The Prevent Strategy: A Cradle to Grave Police State

Feb 2014

This was the first comprehensive report into Prevent from a Muslim civil society perspective, which traced the wide-ranging and disturbing impact of Prevent through the lives of Muslims from early years to university, from the mosque to work and even the home. The report also underlined how Prevent developed into a strategy to target ideas, beliefs and values, and how the language of Prevent is problematic not just for Muslims but potentially a range of other groups and communities.

Prevent: Dividing Communities and Threatening Civil Liberties

May 2016

This factsheet explains what Prevent is, how it is harmful, how it divides people, and its relationship to Channel. Aimed at activists and students, the document mentions how proponents of Prevent claim to support
free discussion, while support for Palestine, or identifying innocent victims of war in the Middle East are seen as signs of “grievance justification”, and indicators of “extremism”.