Redesign of the Prevent against terrorism system to target extremists with mental health problems


An overhaul of Britain’s counter-terrorism program will include adapting the program to deal with a rise in the number of extremists with “mixed” ideologies and mental health issues, Priti Patel has said.

The Home Secretary says ‘things have evolved’ since the Prevent program was created in 2006 in response to the threat from violent Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda, and that a ‘very different approach’ was needed .

A review of the program is underway by William Shawcross, the former chairman of the Charity Commission, and is expected to report shortly.

David Cameron last week accused some Muslim groups that criticize Prevent of “facilitating terrorism”, fearing that a “culture of grievance” against the program had “undermined” its work.

“Types of threats are changing”

But Ms Patel said that in addition to the program’s ongoing work to de-radicalise Islamists, “what we’re seeing more and more is a lot more of a mixed ideology. And that doesn’t necessarily lead to a [terror] incidents or threats. »

She told the Telegraph: “The exposure to public risk is changing, the types of threats are changing. There are now many other mental health issues.

“Prevention has been around for a while now. When you look at the causes of people who are exhibiting, or some of the issues that are manifest now, they are much, much broader than just Islamist ideology, or a particular strand. There are all kinds of factors now. And so there is a lot of work going on in this whole area.

Ms Patel added: “I’m not going to prejudge the review. It’s important that we have a very different approach ourselves. Things will inevitably have to change because we’re seeing changes in attitudes, changes in factors around attacks, for example.As a result, the police and intelligence services work differently and they look for different things.

When Prevent was created, its “guiding principles” stated: “Prevent must tackle all forms of terrorism, not just Al-Qaeda. But the allocation of resources will be commensurate with the threats we face. The UK as a whole grew out of al-Qaeda and groups and individuals who share the violent Islamist ideology associated with it.”

David Amess killer referred to Prevent

The conviction of Ali Harbi Ali for the murder of Sir David Amess, the Tory MP, has raised new questions about whether Prevent is fit for purpose. Terrorism experts have warned that those involved in the scheme appear to have been deceived too often by “sophisticated extremists concealing their intentions”.

Ali, who said he targeted Sir David because he voted for airstrikes in Syria, was referred to Prevent in 2014 and bragged during his terrorism trial that he easily managed to appear docile when he was forced to dialogue with the authorities.


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