Prevent Watch

The People's Review of Prevent

The People’s Review of Prevent is an alternative review to the Government Shawcross Review.

This review provides a voice to the people most impacted by the Prevent Duty.
Prevent is described as ‘safeguarding’ children from harms. However, under Prevent, safeguarding is focused on protecting the wider public from children believed to be ‘risky’, rather than protecting children from harms.

Throughout our report we present case studies that show how real these harms can be and the distress they cause to children and their families and carers.

The House: The problem with the Prevent strategy

As human rights groups call for an end to the government’s Prevent strategy, what might we see in the Home Office’s long-awaited independent review? Laura Hutchinson, writing for The House – a cross-party publication reporting on Westminster – notes that the most common Prevent referral is under “extreme right wing” radicalisation (46 per cent), followed by concerns about those with a mixed, unstable, or unclear ideology (30 per cent), and Islamist radicalisation (22 per cent). Despite this, “Islamist terrorism”, she says, accounts for the majority of terrorism-related convictions, with 68 per cent of prisoners in custody for terrorism being Muslim. Hutchinson notes that “many Muslim groups raise concerns that Prevent leads to their communities being seen only through a security lens, and could lead to the policing of culturally conservative views or political opinions”. Source: The Problem With Prevent

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Expert View: How Prevent counter-extremism enables the far-right agenda in government

Pro-Prevent lobby groups are currently arguing that the focus of Prevent should be redirected toward Islamism and away from the far-right, but is this just an excuse to play down their far-right agenda? The argument that Prevent is ‘failing’ and that it needs to refocus on so-called ‘Islamist extremism’ should be viewed in light of the ostensible justification of the ‘British values’ underlying Prevent. When ‘British values’ are linked to ‘national security’ The need to teach ‘British values’ as conceived by the government, frames the implementation of the Prevent pre-crime programme in schools. These values – on paper – are democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of different religious faiths and beliefs. Their designation as ‘British’ is, of course, problematic. It implies that these ‘British values’ must be inculcated in ethnic minority citizens, yet we have seen that the claim is that most British Muslims share

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The Independent: Michael Gove trumpets dropping of Islamophobia definition

Reappointed communities secretary Michael Gove opposes settling on a definition of Islamophobia, claiming it would bring ‘dangers’. The Independent’s home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden writes on Twitter that “Gove said he wanted to target “political Islam”, which he called a “virus”. He claimed there was “resistance in Whitehall”. Source: Government drops work towards official Islamophobia definition promised to combat anti-Muslim hatred in 2019 | The Independent

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The Guardian: Doubts over Suella Braverman and claim about code breach

Suella Braverman is under pressure to answer fresh questions about alleged “security breaches”, as a former head of parliament’s intelligence and security committee warned the row threatened to undermine officials’ confidence in sharing sensitive information with her. Government insiders and a senior Conservative MP have challenged the account given by the home secretary and backed up by the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, saying that Braverman only owned up to it when she was confronted with the evidence, and not the other way around, as claimed by Sunak. Source: Doubts arise over Braverman’s claim to have come forward about code breach | Suella Braverman | The Guardian

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Lancashire Telegraph: Blackburn with Darwen gets £600,000 for Prevent strategy

Blackburn with Darwen Council has been given more than half a million pounds to continue its work with Prevent. “Lancashire is a priority area nationally,” said the borough’s public health and prevention head Damian Talbot. Although in 2019, the Home Office assessed that Blackburn with Darwen was no longer a priority area, the borough will still oversee the delivery of Prevent for Lancashire. Source: Blackburn with Darwen gets £600,000 for Prevent terrorism programme | Lancashire Telegraph

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The New Arab: Muslims mourn Queen Elizabeth II under Prevent’s watchful eye

At the death of the Queen Elizabeth II, a strong counter-narrative against the outpouring of grief emerged from those hailing from former British colonies, not about the loss of a monarch they knew from a distance, but one that articulated the collective and individual pain for which the monarchy is responsible. But Afroze F Zaidi writes about how this counter-narrative was absent among many Muslim organisations. For British Muslims, counter-terror and anti-extremism measures such as Prevent work hard to ensure that they stay in line. So, an occasion such as the Queen’s death isn’t an opportunity for sincere reflection or honesty – rather it serves as a test of loyalty based on good Muslim vs bad Muslim dichotomies. Source: Muslims mourn the Queen under Prevent’s watchful eye

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The New Statesman: Plymouth shooting proves Britain needs a new paradigm approach to violence

Attacks like the Plymouth shooting involving Jake Davidson last year, prove that the greatest emerging threat is not Islamist, but in a rapidly expanding set of so-called mixed, unclear and unstable (MUU) extremism cases. Davidson, 22, shot dead five people in Plymouth last year, before turning the gun on himself. A large element of this rapid growth has seen Prevent referrals inheriting much of the case load of young people with “complex needs” from underfunded local services. Data from 2021 suggests up to 70 per cent of people referred to Prevent may have mental health issues. Growing numbers of MUU referrals suggest practitioners are struggling to classify these cases within frameworks built to handle clear-cut ideological categories. Events like those in Plymouth speak to a more disparate set of extremism-related threats than the current government approach can capture. The New Statesman argues that they require a new paradigm of response.

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