Prevent Watch

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Would you appoint Nigel Farage for a Brexit “independent” review?

Imagine if the government wanted an ‘independent’ review of Brexit, but proceeded to appoint Nigel Farage to conduct the review. To appoint someone so clearly in favour of Brexit would be completely absurd. Yet the government has appointed Alex Carlile[1]– a man who has made no secret of the fact that he is a supporter of Prevent – to be the so-called ‘independent’ reviewer for this harmful policy. Prevent and counter-extremism policy is generally suffering from a lack of support. It is like the dead parrot in the famous Monty Python sketch. It has become an ex-policy. It has ceased to ‘be’ – well, to be credible, at least. Read more

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Government appoints Prevent advocate to lead its professed ‘independent’ review

The British government has appointed Lord Carlile as its new ‘independent’ reviewer of the contentious counter-extremism strategy known as Prevent. The appointment of Lord Carlile as the lead investigator is in fact a re-appointment, as he was the same reviewer who approved of the Government’s failed strategy in 2011. Critics have suggested that the entire process of supposedly reviewing the strategy is a step towards legitimising Prevent. According to security minister Brandon Lewis, Lord Carlile “brings a wealth of experience and skills to this role. As the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, he showed independence and rigour and I am pleased he has agreed to lead this review.” [1] Many have stated that there is nothing independent nor transparent about appointing an investigator who supports Prevent. Lord Carlile has even propagated the programme’s discriminatory practices, making clear his stance on the policy multiple times and even making suggestions on […]

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Prevent reviewer is member of Home Office panel tasked with enforcing strategy

A lawyer appointed by the British government to review the Prevent strategy is also a member of a secretive Home Office committee responsible for enforcing the implementation of the contentious counter-extremism programme by public bodies. Lord Carlile, a former counter-terrorism legislation watchdog who also reviewed Prevent in 2011, was appointed by the Home Office on Monday to conduct the review. But Carlile’s membership of the Prevent Oversight Board and his past comments in support of the strategy have raised concerns about his ability to deliver a review that will be seen as genuinely independent by its critics. Read more

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CAGE condemns appointment of Lord Carlile as Prevent reviewer

Advocacy group CAGE has said the appointment of Lord Carlile as the “Independent Reviewer for Prevent” confirms that the entire review process is simply about legitimising the controversial counter terror policy. CAGE said the government has re-appointed the same reviewer who approved the current Prevent strategy and has close ties with the intelligence and security establishment. Many Muslim organisations, as well as human rights groups, unions and academics, have said Prevent is a thinly-veiled spying and monitoring exercise which targets the Muslim community. Asim Qureshi, CAGE’s Research Director said: “The core problem with Prevent is that it fundamentally skews the relationship between government and citizens. Muslims are the test community for a government whose long term aim is to bring about a closed society. Read more

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An upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of becoming a “whitewash”

A coalition of 10 human rights and community groups, including Index on Censorship, have warned that an upcoming review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of becoming a “whitewash”. The groups are urging the government to ensure that the review of Prevent is comprehensive and truly independent. Dear Rt. Hon Brandon Lewis, We write as a diverse coalition of human rights organisations and community groups concerned by the impact of the Government’s flagship counter-extremism strategy, Prevent, on fundamental rights, community cohesion and the delivery of public services. We welcome the Government’s commitment to establishing an independent review of Prevent under the auspices of the Counter Terror and Border Security Act 2019. [1] As the deadline for the announcement of arrangements for the Review approaches, we are writing to request that you take appropriate steps to ensure that it is genuinely independent of Government and that its Terms of […]

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Lord Alex Carlile QC to lead on independent review of Prevent programme

The Government has announced that Lord Alex Carlile QC has been appointed as the Independent Reviewer of the Prevent programme which safeguards vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. Prevent is one of the four strands of the Government’s CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy. Back in January, the Government announced the creation of the Independent Review of Prevent as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act. Read more

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Government warned that review of Prevent risks becoming a “whitewash”

The Government has been warned that a review of its counter-extremism strategy, Prevent, is at risk of becoming a “whitewash.” [1] In January, the Government announced an ‘independent review’ after years of rejecting concerns from a range of people and organisations on the impact of the Prevent strategy. Many groups have criticised, opposed, and called for the repeal of the Prevent strategy. These groups include the National Union of Students (NUS), Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS), University and College Union (UCU), National Union of Teachers (NUT), several faith groups, academics, and activists. [2] A coalition of 10 human rights organisations and community groups have accused the Government of recruiting the ‘independent’ reviewer behind closed doors. The coalition consists of groups including Rights Watch, Liberty, Index on Censorship, CAGE, and the Muslim Council of Britain. Read more

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Review of Prevent counter-extremism scheme risks becoming ‘whitewash’, government warned

A review of the controversial Prevent counter-extremism programme is at risk of becoming a “whitewash”, the government has been warned. The Home Office announced an assessment of the scheme in January, after years of dismissing human rights concerns and resisting persistent calls to overhaul it. In a letter to the new security minister Brandon Lewis seen exclusively by The Independent, a coalition of 10 human rights and community groups accused the government of recruiting an “independent reviewer of Prevent” behind closed doors. Ministers told parliament the appointment, which is to be announced on Monday, was not advertised publicly because of time pressures and a suitable candidate would be chosen by the home secretary. Read more

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Critics of Prevent strategy told to ‘share criticisms’ and suggest ways it could be improved

A forthcoming review of the Prevent anti-terror programme is an opportunity for long-standing critics to “stand up and be counted”, a chief constable has said. Simon Cole, the national policing lead for the scheme, challenged those who have complained of a “lack of independent analysis and oversight” to use their chance to influence policy and suggest ways it could be improved. Read more

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Police challenge Prevent critics to ‘stand up and be counted’

An upcoming review of the Prevent anti-terrorism programme is an opportunity for long-standing critics to “stand up and be counted”, a chief constable has said. Simon Cole, the national policing lead for the scheme, challenged those who have complained of a “lack of independent analysis and oversight” to use their chance to influence policy and suggest improvements. “Failure to do so would demonstrate that all they ever had was arguments based on inaccuracies or myth, and no real ideas about how to tackle radicalisation among the young and the vulnerable,” he said. Read more