Extreme Right make up half cases receiving Channel extremism support

28th Dec 2018
Extreme Right make up half cases receiving Channel extremism support

Prevent Extremism programme: no of far-right referrals,

2017/18 (1,312); 2016/17 (968) (Graph: Muslim News)

Hamed Chapman

The number of people referred to the Government’s controversial Prevent Extremism programme continued to grow last year by approximately 20 per cent from 6,093 in 2016/17 to 7,318 in 2017/18, according to the latest Government figures.

The increase was largely due to a huge 36 per cent surge in the number of referrals for concerns related to right-wing extremism in 2017/18 (1,312) when compared with 2016/17 (968), continuing the upward trend seen since 2015/16. At the same time referrals for concerns related to so-called “Islamist” extremism decreased by 14 per cent over the same time, continuing a downward trend seen since 2015/16.

The number of Channel Panel discussions regarding concerns related to right-wing extremism also increased by more than half from 271 in 2016/2017 to 427 in 2017/18. Similarly, the number of individuals receiving Channel support for concerns related to right-wing extremism has also increased over the same period by 40 per cent  (2016/17, 124; 2017/18, 174).

Of the total number of 7,318 individuals referred, the majority though, 3,197 (44 per cent ) who were referred for concerns still related to Muslims even if there was an overall growth by 1,312 (18 per cent ) in those referred for concerns related right-wing extremism.

Of the 1,314 individuals discussed at a Channel Panel, 662 (50 per cent ) were referred for concerns related to so-called Islamist extremism and 427 (32 per cent ) were referred for concerns related to right-wing extremism, which in turn though were the most likely proportionately to receive designated support.

As a result, for the first time, of the 394 individuals who actually received Channel support, a similar number of individuals 174 (44 per cent ) related to right-wing extremism and 179 (45 per cent ) of the referred related to Muslims.

Channel is part of Prevent programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

The Government’s newly released figures also worryingly demonstrate how Prevent continues to increasingly target and securitise children. According to Cage human rights group, it is “predictably casting its shadow on a potentially endless list of concerns under a new category of “‘mixed, unstable or unclear ideology’, a catch-all that is ripe for abuse.”

Of the 3,197 individuals referred for concerns related to Muslims, the age category with the largest proportion of referrals were those aged under 15 (841; 26 per cent ). Of the 1,312 referred for concerns related to the extreme right, the largest proportion were aged 15 to 20 (464; 35 per cent ).

Of the 662 individuals discussed at a Channel panel for concerns related to apparent “Islamist” extremism, the largest proportion were aged 15 to 20 (196; 30 per cent ). This was also the case for the 427 individuals discussed at a Channel panel for concerns related to right-wing extremism (176; 41 per cent aged 15 to 20).

Of the 179 individuals who received Channel support for concerns related to Muslims, the largest proportion again were aged under 15 (59; 33 per cent ), while of the 174 individuals who received Channel support for concerns related to right-wing extremism, the largest proportion were as previous aged 15 to 20 (73; 42 per cent ).

Responding to the figures, Security Minister, Ben Wallace, insisted that the Prevent programme “plays a vital role in stopping vulnerable people being drawn into all forms of terrorism and safeguarding is at the heart of it.” It shows the policy was “tackling the threat from radicalisation wherever it is found, including from the rise in the right-wing extremism.”

Regarding the focus on children, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, tried to equate the controversial programme with others designed to protect children. “There are people out there that want to exploit young people by turning them towards extremism and sometimes even terrorism.”

“What Prevent is about is safeguarding people from those who wish to do them harm. Just in the same way we want to safeguard people from child sexual exploitation, from county lines drugs gangs, you would also expect the Government to work hard to turn people away from extremism.”

Claims of the effectiveness of the controversial programme were mocked by Cage, stating that all but a tiny handful were “false positives” whereas the reality was “blind to the intrusiveness, trauma and stigma attached to being investigated under Counter-Terrorism measures.”

“The idea that future ‘terrorists’ have been somehow dissuaded through Prevent, particularly when the numbers do not correlate to actual violent of the campaign organisation. What is always missing from these discussions is the long-term impact of false referrals,” he said.

“The idea that future ‘terrorists’ have been somehow dissuaded through Prevent, particularly when the numbers do not correlate to actual violent of the campaign organisation,” said the organisation’s Research Director, Asim Qureshi. “What is always missing from these discussions is the long-term impact of false referrals,” he said.

 

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