Prevent Strategy – background information

The Prevent strategy has 3 key strands aimed at addressing factors in support of the overall aim of stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists or violent extremists:

The original Prevent strategy was launched in the wake of the 7th July bombings, as part of CONTEST (UK’s Counter Terrorism Strategy). Over the last six years, work has been undertaken throughout Cornwall towards it’s Counter Terrorism Local Plan (CTLP) objectives, including an awareness raising programme, establishment of referral pathways and setting up single points of contact within partner agencies.

In Autumn 2010 the Coalition Government launched a Prevent review, intending to produce a revised strategy in January 2011. This was as a result of negative national media coverage, suggesting Prevent was not focused towards preventing violent extremism, and that funds and staff were involved in unnecessary and irrelevant activities, along with reports of discontent from the Muslim community who felt they were being targeted on the basis of their faith. The Government made it clear that there was a place for Prevent, however wanted to ensure a much tighter focus and proportionate response to identified issues and risks.

Revised Prevent Strategy

On 7th July 2011 the Home Secretary launched the revised Prevent Strategy, which has been updated to reflect the ‘broader scope, tighter focus’ approach that the Government wants to adopt within Prevent. In practice this means that whilst Da’esh (ISIS) remains the biggest threat to national security, and most effort will likely be directed towards the risk they pose, any groups or individuals that present a risk (of violent extremism or terrorism) should be dealt with proportionately, regardless of their motivation.

The three key aims of the revised Prevent Strategy are

  1. Response to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;

Terrorists have developed an ideology which sanctions and even requires violence against civilians. They justify the use of violence by presenting a distorted interpretation of religion, history and contemporary politics. The ideology is one factor in the radicalisation process – albeit never the only factor and seldom the most important.

Countering that ideology – exposing its inaccuracies and shortcomings – is an important part of Prevent.

British based extremist groups include: National Action, Scottish Dawn,The English Defence League, National Front, Animal Liberation Front but to name a few, who like Da’esh, can revert to extreme views and conduct acts of violence to promote their cause.

What this means in practice

Supporting our local communities, organisations and institutions to challenge the messages of violent extremists who endanger communities is critical.

Partners should support those individuals and institutions who can effectively refute the extremist narrative and who positively articulate our shared values, and should encourage new voices to enter into the debate.

  1. Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support.

Apologists for violent extremism very often target individuals who for a range of reasons are vulnerable to their messages. Although there is presently less evidence on vulnerability in relation to violent extremism compared with other forms of crime, local partners will recognise relevant factors: peer pressure, the absence of positive mentors and role models, a crisis of identity, links to criminality including other forms of violence, exposure to traumatic events (here or overseas), changing circumstances (eg dislocation to a new environment, including migration and asylum) and a sense of isolation from a community. A range of existing structures and programmes are already in place to support people exhibiting many of these vulnerabilities (eg helplines, mentoring programmes) and it is critical that we build on and make the most of these.

What this means in practice

There are a range of agencies who will routinely come into contact with vulnerable individuals; community organisations, children’s and youth services, schools, further and higher education, housing officers, social care, Youth Offending Service and secure establishments, police, probation boards, local prisons and immigration facilities.

A key strand of activity for partners and partnerships in this area is to emphasise the connection between familiar vulnerability and the often less familiar issue of radicalisation and to consider preventative action. This should include:

  • identifying and engaging with the full range of agencies which may come into contact with individuals vulnerable to radicalisation;
  • ensuring that those people receive basic training on radicalisation issues and how they can provide support and;
  • ensuring that arrangements are in place to share information about vulnerability.
  1. Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.

Strong, organised and empowered communities are better equipped to effectively reject the ideology of violent extremism, to isolate apologists for terrorism and to provide support to vulnerable institutions and individuals. Our communities should take the initiative in these areas but we can work together to enable them to do so. Collaborative work itself undermines the narrative of separation and conflict which is often used by violent extremists, emphasising that there is more that unites us than divides us.

What this means in practice

Local communities must be at the centre of the response to violent extremism, helping to develop and deliver the response to it. Engagement may take place through:

Community forums; Residents Associations, Chambers of Commerce, Faith groups, community networks; events and conferences; research and focus groups; outreach workers; and education services.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, which received Royal Assent on 12 February 2015, and came into effect in July 2015 placed a duty on specified authorities, including schools and colleges, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (“the Prevent duty”). The Prevent duty reinforces existing duties placed upon educational establishments for keeping children safe by:

  • Ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum is in place schools to promote the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
  • Assessing the risk of pupils being drawn towards extremist views.
  • Ensuring Prevent is included within safeguarding policies and arrangements.
  • Training staff to provide them with the knowledge and ability to identify pupils at risk.
  • Ensuring that staff understand the referral routes, intervention and support that is available locally.
  • Working in partnership with local authorities, police and communities.
  • Keeping pupils safe online, using effective filtering and usage policies.

In line with this duty, the Ofsted inspection process will evaluate the school’s approach to keeping pupils safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism. It is therefore crucial that all schools understand the legal requirements under this legislation.

In order to support schools with regard to the new duty, local workshop sessions are being delivered into cluster areas by Cornwall Council Prevent Lead Officer Steve Rowell. The sessions include Home Office approved training (WRAP) and additional advice with regard to the new duty.

Additional training is being offered to all statutory front line staff particularly those who work with or come into contact with vulnerable people and Voluntary and Community sectors who work with or come into contact with vulnerable people.

For additional information or to discuss any concerns regarding terrorism and radicalisation in Cornwall contact:

Steve Rowell   MICJP

Preventing Extremism/Terrorism Lead Cornwall & Serious Organised crime Operational Lead Cornwall

Cornwall Fire Rescue & Community Safety Service
Penzance One Stop Shop
St Johns Hall, Alverton Street, Penzance, Cornwall. TR18 2QR

Phone: (01736) 336587

E-mail :  or

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