Counter Terrorism Policing’s Head of Prevent has warned that the latest Prevent statistics show a continuation of the ‘worrying trend’ of children becoming more prevalent in CT casework.
In the year ending 31 March 2023, there were 6,817 referrals to Prevent, an increase of 6.4% compared to the previous year, and the third highest total of referrals since 2015.
This increase did not translate into more Channel cases – with only 654 referrals adopted, 159 fewer than last year.
If the referral progresses and it is assessed that there is a genuine risk of radicalisation, the case is considered by a multi-agency ‘Channel panel’ of professionals who collectively assess the case and decide on a tailored package of support that can be offered to the person.
The majority of the referrals (39%) came from the Education sector, followed by policing with 29% of the total.
Once again, children and young people are overly represented in both Prevent and Channel data, with 63% of referrals relating to under 20s, and 31% being aged 14 and under.
There was also a greater number of referrals relating to Extreme Right Wing (19%) terrorism concerns compared to Islamist extremism (11%) – a trend which has continued over the last few years.
This prevalence of young people is also reflected in the Channel data, with 46% of adopted cases relating to children aged between 11 and 15. You can read the full statistical release here.
Counter Terrorism Policing’s Head of Prevent, Detective Chief Superintendent Maria Lovegrove, said:
“These new Prevent statistics show a continuation of the worrying trend we have been warning of for some time – that the average age of those in our casework is getting younger.
“It might seem shocking that very young children are being supported by Prevent to move away from extremism and terrorism, but when those young children are being exposed to harmful ideologies and extremist content then we must try to protect them in any way we can.
“It is vitally important that people reach out to Prevent for help if they have any concerns about their loved ones. The earlier people get support to move away from terrorism, the better chance of a positive outcome. Visit www.actearly.uk for more information.”