Chief Constable Simon Cole of Leicestershire Police spoke to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) around the myths and realities of the Prevent programme.
The police have a long history of working to prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into criminal behaviour. The Prevent programme plays a key role in providing support to those who are considered a risk.
As the national police lead for Prevent, CC Cole spoke in length around the importance of an independent review of the Prevent programme and the impact it can have:
“The recent announcement of an independent review of Prevent was a welcome one to me and, most likely, to other Prevent practitioners up and down the country.
We now have an opportunity to demonstrate what the programme can offer, and for unbiased experts to weigh that up against the criticisms, misleading rhetoric and false perceptions which have plagued the scheme.
An independent review should also have been welcome news for those who have spent so long criticising the programme, because they will now have an opportunity to air their concerns and suggest how changes to Prevent might improve the way we tackle radicalisation and extremism in the UK.
Now is the time for hard fact, not twisted fiction. It is the time for anyone with genuine concerns or policy ideas to stand up and be counted, or else never be able to fairly criticise Prevent again.
Critics have decried the lack of independent analysis and oversight, and now they have the chance to influence this critical government policy for the future.
Failure to do so would demonstrate that all they ever had was arguments based on inaccuracies or myth, and no real ideas about how to tackle radicalisation amongst the young and the vulnerable.”
“Prevent is a crucial part of the battle against terrorists, and hopefully this review can be the next stage in our development of the work, our building of the evidence base, and us making Prevent more inclusive.
In the meantime we will continue to challenge the wilful detractors, debate with the genuinely concerned critics, answer the daily calls and, ultimately, save more lives.
The radicalisers won’t stop while the review takes place, and neither will we.”