Prevent Watch

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Anti-extremism mentors inform on clients to police

Home Office mentors are gathering information on their clients in “confidential” deradicalisation meetings and sharing it with police for terrorism investigations into the very people they are counselling. Leaked documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that the paid mentors, who include Islamic scholars and counter-extremism experts vetted and approved by the Home Office, routinely file an “intervention session report” after each mentoring session. The mentors’ reports provide a “vulnerability assessment” of a client, their “capability” of carrying out a violent act and “new relevant background information” which details the personal material that was obtained, including their “susceptibility to indoctrination” and state of “mental health”. The detailed assessments, carried out under the Channel mentoring programme, part of the government’s Prevent counter-terrorism agenda, also include briefings… Read more

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Town Hall ‘agreed to disagree’ with Home Office on counter-terror strategy

The council officer in charge of co-ordinating preventative anti-terrorism measures across the borough has revealed that the Town Hall “agreed to disagree” with the Home Office over part of its approach approach. Tracey Thomas, who oversees the delivery of the Prevent strand of counter-terror strategy, revealed in a recent council meeting that it had come in for “criticism” from central government for having a year go by without a referral to multi-agency initiative Channel. Read more

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REVEALED: How government feud shaped UK’s counter-extremism strategy

A key element of the UK’s controversial Prevent strategy was developed mainly as a result of inter-departmental rivalry within the British government, rather than to address growing concerns about extremism, Middle East Eye has learned. Channel, a counter-radicalisation programme targeting individuals considered to be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism, was created during a territorial dispute over Prevent between two departments, the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government, according to sources familiar with the feud. Read more

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How to de-radicalise an extremist

When I met Adam in early 2016, he told me that he wanted to join the “Muslim army.” He had been watching videos of jihadists training and said that if he didn’t find a job he might sign up. “If I go fight at least I have a life,” he said. “What am I gonna do here?” Adam had gained notoriety in 2015, when he went on the BBC2 Victoria Derbyshireprogramme. A young Polish convert to Islam, he appeared with his former mentor, Hanif Qadir, head of the Active Change Foundation (ACF), one of several organisations the government has used to de-radicalise suspected extremists. Qadir told the show that Adam was “on a path to terror,” until he got involved. He said he had taught Adam that he was following the wrong kind of Islam. “We’ve pulled him back from the edge, let’s say,” claimed Qadir, in what was a broadcast-ready […]

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Ahmed Hassan: Parsons Green bomber failings revealed

Experts considered removing the Parsons Green Tube bomber from a list of extremists 10 days before he carried out the attack, a review has found. Ahmed Hassan, 18, took a bomb onto the Tube last September after more than 18 months of concerns that he had been radicalised by the Islamic State group. A review into how much police and other authorities knew of Hassan has been published on Monday. It reveals a series of errors made by police and Surrey County Council. Read more 

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A civil liberties group just won a huge legal victory over five police forces and the Home Office

A civil liberties group has just won an important victory over the Information Commissioner, the Home Office, and five police forces. The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) took the case to challenge a freedom of information request refusal. Netpol wanted to know how many anti-fracking protesters had been referred to the Channel programme. (Channel is part of the government’s controversial Prevent counter-terrorism strategy [pdf] to stop extremism. The strategy was described in a 2017 UN Human Rights Council report as “inherently flawed”.) Read more