New Home Office statistics show a 20 percent increase in the number of people referred to and supported through the Prevent programme – with extreme right wing concerns up by over a third.
Figures released today cover the year ending March 2018, a period likely to be affected by the five terrorist attacks that took place in London and Manchester. They show a jump from around 6000 referrals per year to over 7300.
Part of the increase relates to a significant rise in cases where the type of extremism concern is mixed, unstable or unclear. This accounts for nearly 2000 referrals.
The number relating to Islamist extremism is down by 14 percent.
Referrals from Community members is up by 29 percent, but from friends and family the number remains low at just three percent of the total. Police are keen to increase public understanding and build confidence to encourage more people to come forward and safeguard their loved ones.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for Prevent, Chief Constable Simon Cole, says: “The Prevent safeguarding duty is now well embedded within statutory bodies who are alert to all forms of extremism. We have become more sophisticated in identifying people where ideology isn’t the primary driver of a person’s vulnerability and complex needs.
“However, all agencies need to work with communities to improve understanding of what Prevent is and how it can stop vulnerable people being drawn into terrorist activity.
“At a time when we are dealing with a record number of Counter Terrorism investigations, it is far better to stop a loved one getting drawn into criminal activity in the first place.
“These statistics show that every single day, 20 people are contacting us with their concerns, trusting we will respond proportionally and with sensitivity.
“Families and friends are often best placed to spot the changes in a person that could indicate they are being influenced by dangerous radicalisers.
“An early intervention to the many partners that support the Prevent programme could stop someone they care about becoming the subject of one of the 700 investigations Counter Terrorism Policing is currently managing.
“Our research shows that police are trusted and that people would come to us if they had concerns. But we need to do more to spell out what the warning signs are and what friends and family can do to help.”
The full set of statistics published by the Home Office, for the year ending 30 March 2018, can be seen here.
Anyone with concerns can contact Prevent Police on 101.