The latest Prevent figures show why the strategy needs an independent review

The Prevent strategy (2011) and the subsequent Prevent duty (2015) – whereby public authorities are required to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” – have instead become a “significant source of grievance” among students, teachers, academics, human rights groups and broader civil society, encouraging “mistrust to spread and to fester”.

In a year when we have suffered a series of terror threats, it is clear we need a counter-radicalisation strategy that is effective and has the trust of our entire society. The Home Office’s latest attempt to reverse the loss of trust over the past decade, therefore, is very welcome. In a new report, it has opened a small door into the inner workings of Prevent: who is doing the referring, what happens to those referred, who is being referred and for what reason?

…. While there are clearly some community-based Prevent initiatives that have had a positive impact, and individual success stories that have understandably been promoted by the Home Office, there is little doubt that there are serious, legitimate questions about the Prevent strategy, which the latest figures corroborate.

Let’s regain trust and win the hearts and minds of Britons across all communities. Let’s have an independent review of Prevent. [Miqdaad Versi, 321 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 145 votes] “Ten years later, hearts and minds are yet to be won.”

I don’t think we’re asking a lot. All we ask is that particular groups don’t try to kill the rest of us in the name of their religion. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

[2ND 134] “The threat, quantified by the number of terror arrests, is approximately five times greater from “Islamist” terrorism compared to “extreme rightwing” terrorism.”

What if we use a different metric like, for instance, number of people murdered?

[3RD 123] I am reminded of Willie Sutton’s explanation of why he robbed banks – ‘cos that’s where the money is’.

If the author thinks muslims are being targeted disproportionately by Prevent, he should look at the pattern of terrorist attacks in the UK. On the day that Hebridean grandmothers are committing most of the attacks then I’ll suggest targeting them. Until then, Special Branch and the rest have to go where the money is.

[4TH 114] “However, this does not explain why a smaller proportion of “Islamist” extremists referred to Prevent are discussed at a Channel panel, compared with “extreme rightwing” extremists.”

No, what explains this is the relative rarity of extreme right-wing terrorism in the UK as opposed to islamic terrorism. I can’t seem to find the figures anywhere, but I somehow suspect that if we were to count the terror attacks in the past 20 years in the UK, less than 10% of them will have been the result of extreme right-wingers.

Wikipedia, at least, reports two such attacks – the killing of Jo Cox and the 1999 bombings, which caused a total of four deaths. There have been more deaths to islamic extremism in the UK this year alone. The figures are likely even more extreme if we take into account attacks prevented by security services – but this is impossible to do because it is uncommon that they alert the public when it happens.

I kept reading and hoping that this would be addressed somehow, but it wasn’t. It is impossible to have an honest discussion on this subject whilst this elephant in the room remains unaddressed.

[5TH 108] What a total misuse of statistics. According to the article, the threat of terror of the Islamic variety is 5 times more likely than far right terrorism. At the same time, the article implies that there are 2.5 million Muslim people in the county. That implies that there is approximately 60 million non-Muslims.

Assume that Islamic terrorism is all carried out by people of the Islamic faith, then the data implies that a supporter of Islam is 120 times more likely to carry out a terrorist atrocity than a non-muslim is likely to carry out a far-right atrocity.

Whilst the author has calculated a figure of 2.5 million muslims, they have not calculated a total cohort of people to include in the far right category

I hate writing this sort of stuff, but it is what comes from the Guardian constantly ramping up gender and identity politics and the victim culture it promotes.

Odds on this gets blocked even though I’m just using the statistics of the author.

[6TH 99] “the government’s action plan to isolate, prevent and defeat violent extremism in 2007. Ten years later, hearts and minds are yet to be won.”

So after 10 years the government has failed to convince everyone that living peacefully with the 90% of the population that don’t share their religion rather than trying (indeed succeeding) to blow them up.

Have you considered that maybe, just maybe the problem does not lie wholly, or primarily with the government? [Guardian Cif] Read more

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