Prevent referrals over rightwing extremism rise by over a third

The number of people referred to the UK government’s counter-extremism programme over concerns about far-right activity has risen by more than a third, official figures show.

In the year to March 2018, 1,312 individuals were referred to Prevent, an increase of 36% on the previous year, and accounting for 18% of all referrals.

Concerns related to Islamist extremism still make up the highest proportion at 44% or 3,197.

For the first time, a similar percentage of individuals received support from the Channel scheme for concerns related to Islamist and rightwing extremism. Channel, which is part of the Prevent strategy, provides specialist support to people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

prevent chart

Of the 394 individuals who received Channel support, 45% were referred for concerns related to Islamist extremism and 44% for concerns related to rightwing extremism.

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 radicalisation. The programme is divisive, and some communities, such as those that are predominantly Muslim, feel disproportionately and unfairly targeted.

The security minister, Ben Wallace, said: “Prevent plays a vital role in stopping vulnerable people being drawn into all forms of terrorism and safeguarding is at the heart of it.

“Since 2012, the Prevent programme has stopped potentially 1,267 people from going on to become terrorists and harming our society.

“The figures released today show Prevent is tackling the threat from radicalisation wherever it is found, including from the rise in the rightwing extremism.

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“Through the Prevent and Channel programme, people who are vulnerable to radicalisation have received the support they need to turn their lives around which has also helped keep our communities safe.”

The figures show the number of people referred to Prevent increased by about 20% from 6,093 in 2016/17 to 7,318 in 2017/18.

Of those, 42% received no further action, 40% were referred to other safeguarding services and 18% were discussed at a Channel panel.

The number of people who received Channel support rose 19% on the previous year. The figures also show a year-on-year increase in the percentage of those exiting the scheme with no further concern from 79% to 84%.

There was also a rise in the number of cases of “mixed, unclear or unstable ideology” referred to Prevent. Twelve such individuals went on to receive Channel support.



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