Far-right referrals to Prevent programme up by more than a quarter

More than 965 people referred to counter-extremism programme in year to March 2017

The number of people referred to a UK government counter-extremism programme because of concerns about rightwing extremism has risen by more than a quarter, official figures show.

In the year to March 2017, 968 such individuals were referred to Prevent, an increase of 28% from the previous year.
The proportion of referrals for rightwing extremism rose in the year to 16% of all referrals, up from 10% in the previous period. 

Of the 968 referrals for rightwing extremism, 37% were referred to the Channel scheme, which provides specialist support to turn vulnerable individuals away from terrorism, up from 26%.
The majority of referrals to Prevent, however, continue to relate to Islamist extremism, for which 3,704 of individuals (61% of the total) were referred. This was a 26% decline from the previous year when 4,997 individuals were referred.
In the year to March 2017, 6,093 individuals were subject to a referral owing to concerns that they were vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. This was a decrease on 7,631in the previous year. 

A total of 332 people received Channel support, of whom 292 have left the process. Within this figure, 231 left with no further terrorism-related concerns. The remainder are monitored by police.
The Home Office cited an example of a 15-year-old boy who was referred to Prevent after he was drawn to the extreme right at football matches. His behaviour escalated from racism at school to violence. He was referred to Prevent where he met a mentor who helped him broaden his views. 

Of all referrals, 332 were referred to Channel, about 5%. Most referrals of people thought to be at risk of being drawn into terrorism are made roughly equally by schools and colleges (1,976) and police (1,946).
Prevent, a voluntary programme, aims to divert people from terrorism before they offend. Public bodies such as schools and universities have a duty to report those they suspect are at risk of being radicalised. The programme is divisive, with some communities, such as those with predominantly Muslim backgrounds, feeling disproportionately and unfairly targeted. 
The security minister, Ben Wallace, said: “The Prevent programme is fundamentally about protecting people who are vulnerable to all forms of radicalisation and has stopped hundreds of individuals being drawn towards terrorism and violence.

“The figures released today show that the programme is continuously improving, demonstrated by better referrals being made and the fact that we are tackling the threat from the far right.

“We have seen all too starkly the devastating consequences of radicalisation and the need for a coordinated response at a local and national level. We will continue to work with partners to improve and make sure this crucial support is given to those who need it.”
Of the 124 individuals who received Channel support for concerns related to rightwing extremism, the largest proportion – 21% – were in the West Midlands.
In a valedictory speech in February, Mark Rowley, the former head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK, warned against the rise of the far right as he revealed that four extremist rightwing plots had been thwarted in 2017.
The banning of the neo-Nazi group National Action in late 2016 has led to a number of criminal prosecutions across the country, including charges relating to terrorism attack planning.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/27/far-right-referrals-prevent-programme-up-by-more-than-a-quarter-counter-extremism


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