Counter Terrorism Policing have teamed up with popular soap opera Hollyoaks to warn young people about the dangers of radicalisation.
With Hollyoaks’ ground-breaking far-right radicalisation storyline coming to a dramatic climax on E4 on Friday 15 November, the national Coordinator for Prevent, Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, has taken part in a short film exploring the real-life impact of far-right radicalisation and how Prevent helps people turn their lives around.
Telling the true story of ‘John’ – a young man who rejected a life of extremism following a Prevent intervention – in his own words, the film explores how the safeguarding scheme works to protect vulnerable people from radicalisation.
While ‘John’ recounts his journey from far-right extremist to Prevent champion, the video cuts to an interview between Kieron Richardson – who plays the storyline’s main character Ste – and Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, who explains what Prevent is and how it helps people.
“At its core, Prevent is an early intervention programme which tries to steer vulnerable people away from radicalisation and extremist views,” says Nik.
“It doesn’t matter whether the risk is from far right extremism or Islamist extremism, Prevent has dedicated professionals on hand who can try and help someone take a different path, away from the hatred and intolerance.
“Frequently it will be friends and family who are the first to spot the signs that someone is being radicalised and that can be scary, especially when you don’t know what to do.
“But this video shows that we can help you recognise the signs, we can get you the assistance you need and that one wrong turn doesn’t need to ruin someone’s life – Prevent is here to help.”
“This has been a scary yet rewarding storyline to be part of.
“At times it has been an uncomfortable watch but imagine what it feels like for people who live on the receiving end of the hate.
“Far right extremism exists but there is help available to those who want it.”
The film also features Hollyoaks cast members Harvey Virdi (Misbah) and Ray Quinn (Jonny), who reflect on their experience of working on the storyline and discuss the impact of extremism in their own lives.
Crucially, they urge viewers to act upon their feelings if they fear something is not right, and to seek help for friends and family if they need it.
Anyone can be vulnerable to radicalisation, and it is often friends and family who are most likely to spot the signs.
If you are concerned that someone you know is potentially at risk of radicalisation, tell someone – and help them take a different path.