End of Prevent?

End of Prevent?


Written by: IRR News Team

The government’s controversial preventing violent extremism programme is apparently to be dismantled.

According to a report in the Guardian on 14 July, the Home Office, in addition to carrying out a review of anti-terror powers relating to control orders, stop and search, surveillance and detention powers, is about to dismantle its Prevent Programme. This £60 million programme had been widely criticised by community groups, not least because it appeared to place the whole Muslim community under suspicion and conflated community development work with intelligence gathering.

In October 2009 the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) produced a report based on interviews with thirty-two people and a consultation with community workers involved in delivering the Prevent Progamme. It found that local authorities were receiving funding on the basis of the number of Muslims in their population, suggesting that the whole community was ‘suspect’; that funding decisions lacked transparency and accountability; that Prevent strategies could run counter to aspects of the community cohesion agenda; that those delivering Prevent were becoming increasingly wary of the expectations on them to provide the police with information on young Muslims and their religious and political opinions.

The Commons Select Committee which examined the Prevent Programme drew on evidence in the IRR’s report and concluded that ‘[Prevent’s] approach is contentious and is unlikely ever to be fully accepted by those it is most important to engage’.

It remains to be seen exactly what elements of counter-terrorism work on individuals ‘at risk of becoming radicalised’ will be retained after the government has implemented its review in January 2011 as part of the Home Office’s structural reform plan.

Related links

Spooked: how not to prevent violent extremism

Download a copy of the IRR’s report: Spooked: how not to prevent violent extremism (pdf file, 1.2Mb)

Guardian (14 July 2010) ‘Ministers dismantle £60m programme to prevent violent extremism’

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

0 thoughts on “End of Prevent?

  1. The very interesting briefing paper “The background to the French parliamentary commission on the burqa and niqab” calls “Riposte Laïque” a “secularist feminist organization”. I am sure that the “Riposte Laïque” Web magazine fully deserves the name of an extreme-right one and even plainly racist one. It is enough to look at the cartoon under the article “France is in the state of civil war, it is a fact …” (“La France est en état de guerre civile, c’est un fait…”): six young men from ethnic minorities are kicking a helpless man while shouting: “Finish him off ! His chalk-white face is disgusting, it is the face of a victim” (“Il dégoute avec sa face de craie, sa tête de victime”) and “We don’t respect your fucking law ! We respect Islam and the law of the strongest !”. The article enumerates acts of violence presented as committed by young men from ethnic minorities against white victims. At least in one of the cases the fact that the victim was herself black (a young girl of Malian descent was twice gang-raped in Ulis, Essonne) is characteristically omitted. I think that if one analyzed the contents of the “Riposte Laïque” Web magazine, one would find lots of other examples of articles and cartoons of a racist, xenophobic and islamophobic character.

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