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Prevent – Time for a major review and fundamental rethink

diane_68By Diane Abbott MP

Increasingly, the evidence is suggesting that the Government’s Prevent Strategy – aimed at countering radicalisation and making us safer – doesn’t work on either count. In recent weeks it has become clear that this is also the case when it comes to tackling the worrying rise in far-right extremism.

Commenting on the recently released figures, Security Minister Ben Wallace MP recently told the House of Commons that not only is “the Prevent strategy is seeing a growth in far-right referrals,” but that “in some areas of the country, these Prevent referrals outnumber those about the other parts we are worried about.”

Data released by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) under a freedom of information request from the Sunday Times showed that the number of far-right referrals in England and Wales has increased by 74%, from 323 cases in 2014-15 to 561 in 2015-16. About 292 cases, or 52%, involved under-18s.

Simon Cole, the chief constable of Leicestershire police, said earlier this year that far-right extremists made up half of all cases in Yorkshire and 30% of the caseload in the east Midlands.

These figures undoubtedly reflect and importantly draw attention to an alarming rise of far-right activity and an increasing confidence of such groups to air their views publicly.

Discussion on this topic is all the more important at a time when we are seeing a rise in hate crime following the EU Referendum campaign, and when Yvette Cooper, the chair of the home affairs select committee, has said the fallout from the EU Referendum campaign and Donald Trump’s victory should serve as a warning about the dangers of whipping up hatred and prejudice in political campaigns.

Yet, with this form of extremism on the rise, there is little evidence that the Prevent programme has – or can – change the attitudes of those on the far right.

Now, we urgently need an anti-extremism strategy that includes addressing the subversive and veiled far-right activity that is allowed to fester in private.

The release of these latest figures, followed the release of a report from the Open Society Justice Initiative that analysed the effect of the prevent strategy on the education system as counter-productive. Furthermore, the parliamentary joint committee on human rights has called for a review of Prevent, arguing that it has the potential to drive a wedge between the authorities and whole communities.

Stakeholders have criticised Prevent from a number of other angles for years. The National Union of Teachers, NASUWT and UCU trade unions have been joined by the National Union of Students, NGOs, campaigners, community groups and civil liberties organisations in calling either for the schemes’ reform or abolition.

Within the Muslim community, at which Prevent is primarily aimed, this is of great concern with numerous respected organisations and commentators arguing that Prevent has had an alienating effect of a community already experiencing discrimination and rising hate crime.

To be clear, none of these organisations or groups have any sympathies whatsoever with terrorism or act as apologists for it. Their members and supporters are the victim or potential victims of any terrorist incidents that are committed here. Their critique is widely shared.

Rather, they are amongst a number of voices that understand the Prevent strategy can be counter-productive because it limits legitimate safe spaces for discourse, places like classrooms and lecture theatres.

Figures show that almost 300 under-18s were referred to officials under the Prevent strategy last year. Of these, at least 16 involved children under the age of 10.

Within this context, my primary concern with Prevent – especially after these latest developments – is that it fails in its stated objective to make us safer.

It is therefore of great concern that it was recently reported that a secret Whitehall internal review of Prevent, ordered earlier this year by Theresa May when she was home secretary, has concluded that the programme “should be strengthened, not undermined” and put forward 12 suggestions on how to reinforce it.

Now is the time for a major review of the Prevent strategy and a fundamental rethink by Government.


  1. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Labour burns.
    Dianne fiddles.

  2. Richard MacKinnon says:

    That Dianne Abbott has the audacity to publish an article like this on the day Labour comes forth in the Sleaford by election is disrespectful to activists and members across the country.
    Corbyn and his generals in the north Islington bunker are successfully engineering, whether wittingly or unwittingly, the end of the British Labour Party.
    Desperate times require desperate action.

    1. John Penney says:

      Economically illiterate, Right Wing, anti Labour Troll , offering helpful advise to our Party, alert !

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        I see you still prefer to get irritaed with the bearer of the news rather than take his advice and try and come up with some ideas of your own that might help the situation. Fair enough, one can only try ones best.

      2. Stephen Bellamy says:

        John on a previous post you said that if Jackie Walker wasn’t booted out of Labour and Momentum you would be out the door. You will understand my surprise to see you still talking about ” our party”.

        I do understand that people can change their minds of course.

        1. John P Reid says:

          Don’t think Walker is in the labour party,even if. She’s back in momentum, at the moment

  3. Imran Khan says:

    Why is this article rehashed from an almost similar one a few days ago? Abbott is an irrelevance so why the giving her so much space to promote foul anti western Jew haters like Malia Bouttattia, Karma Nabulsi and Yasser Louati?

    1. Stephen Bellamy says:

      Diane should look closer to home. Start with Jon Lansman’s association with the far right Muslim hating/ Muslim baiting Henry Jackson Society

      1. Stephen Bellamy says:

        And those similarly associated among her LP parliamentary colleagues.

    2. Stephen Bellamy says:

      Malia Bouattia has nothing to apologise for. And you wouldn’t say that to her face. Coward

      Maybe next time make an effort to spell her name correctly or at least get somewhere close.

      And nothing wrong with being anonymous on the net if you are commenting on flower arranging. But to do so while foully defaming people just makes you a jerk

      1. John P Reid says:

        Not that I want to agree with Imran ‘Terry fitz ‘Khan, but you sure jon lansmans in Henry Jackson society, can’t find it anywhere else in line? He even criticized Ben Bradshaw for being in it,when Bradshaw stood for deputy last year

        Bouattia is a anti Semite and it’s a mistake for Abbott to be associated with her,

        1. Stephen Bellamy says:

          I didn’t say Lansman was ” in ” HJS.And your saying Malia is antisemitic doesn’t make it so.

        2. Stephen Bellamy says:

          And while we are on the subject of association mistakes. Lansman will come to profoundly regret his association with Newmark, as will Jeremy Corbyn, if they are not doing so already.

        3. Imran Khan says:

          John P Reid. Can you explain that. I always thought I was me and not someone else.

      2. Imran Khan says:

        If I met Ms Bouattia I most certainly would say it to her face.

        1. Stephen Bellamy says:

          You don’t even have the balls to smear her on the internet under your own name. The chances of you looking her straight in the eye and smearing her to her face are about the same as my grandma, Maggie O’Hara, becoming the next Chief Rabbi

          1. Imran Khan says:

            Or me the nest Pope and I use my own name.

  4. Bazza says:

    Zzzzz! Stop Press – interesting piece in Guardian today (10/12) re Grotesque Amazon who are planning to do away with checkouts at supermarkets if they can get a foot in the market- your goods would be measured by sensor and charged to your X account.
    So all these lovely diverse working class women and men who serve us could be down the road and if the capitalist Barbarians get there way it could cost 1m jobs in the UK and robotics etc could cost 15m jobs by 2025.
    So unions and Labour get on this case and left wing democratic socialists should be arguing for 20 hour working weeks for all with good pay to free diverse working humanity.
    Business and technology should serve diverse working people and not the other way around!
    It is the labour of the diverse working billions which creates the wealth and makes societies work whilst the rich and powerful legally steal our surplus labour; it is time for diverse working humanity to recognise this and not let them divide us as black and white, LGBT, Disabled. women and men, people with learning disabilities, mental health etc.
    Love and international solidarity!

    1. Imran Khan says:

      This is tongue in cheek I take it?

  5. Imran Khan says:

    John P Reid. Have a look at this on Google. The Secret History of Our Streets series 1 episode 6 about Arnold Circus in East London. Go to 40 minutes and tell me is the Terry Fitz you are talking about. If someone can get the link up it’s a really interesting programme as was the whole series.

    1. Rob Bab says:

      @Imran Khan(?) and John P Reid
      “Go to 40 minutes… Terry Fitz…”
      The guy you refer to in the video is named in full at 34:55mins. He is called Terry Fitzpatrick. Only his first name, Terry, is used at the 40mins mark.

      1. Rob Bab says:

        Here’s the link;

  6. Imran Khan says:

    Real History. Thanks. I understand this guy is highly regarded by the Bangladeshi community in East London.

  7. Douglas Rasbash says:

    As time goes by fewer and fewer will have first hand knowledge of right wing extremism in Europe. Diane’s item is well motivated out of a real concern that right wing extremism may lead to something worse that society will have difficulties to control. Already there is a rise in the number of minority ethnic groups leaving UK and seeking residency in other European countries. The UK, as global bastion of peace, justice and liberty ought to be alarmed.

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