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The Prevent strategy, published by the Government in 2011, is part of our overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. The aim of the Prevent strategy is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. In the Act this has simply been expressed as the need to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

The 2011 Prevent strategy has three specific strategic objectives:

  • Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
  • Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support;
  • Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.

As young people grow and become independent, it is not unusual for them to take risks, explore new things and push boundaries. Teenage years are often a time when young people will be searching for answers to questions about their identity, faith and belonging, as well as looking for adventure and excitement.

This can mean that they are particularly vulnerable to extremist groups, who claim to offer the answers, as well as an identity and a strong social network. Due to the fact that young people are vulnerable, extremist groups often target them using the internet and social media to spread their ideology.  There have been a number of tragic examples where young people have been misled by extremist groups, with some travelling to Syria and often becoming involved in hate crimes against minority groups.

Staff at The Hart School are trained to know the signs of a young person who is vulnerable and possibly susceptible to becoming radicalised. As much as we educate all our young people to make the right choices in life it is impossible for us to monitor their decisions and the influences around them when they are outside of the school. It is therefore imperative that parents and carers are aware of who their children are talking to both online and face to face.

In 2016 the Government launched the website ‘Educate Against Hate’ designed to provide both parents and teachers practical advice on protecting young people from radicalisation and extremism. 

Please follow the link below to familiarise yourself with this important resource.

Talking to young people about terrorism incidents can be difficult and upsetting. It is natural for children to be inquisitive and to want to understand what is happening. 

Staffordshire Police Advice and Information on Prevent

Working with other organisations, the police protect vulnerable people from being exploited by extremists through a Home Office programme called Prevent.

The role of our Prevent Officers is to help people vulnerable to radicalisation move away from extremism. It can be hard to know what to do if you’re worried someone close is expressing extreme views or hatred, which could lead to them harming themselves or others. We’re here to listen and offer help and advice.

Working with partners, our Prevent officers have helped many people to move away from extremism and find a new direction by putting the right package of support in place, which could be from a doctor, through a school, or with a local community group or mentor.

We work with a range of partners including:

  • local authorities
  • schools and colleges
  • faith leaders
  • community groups, including women’s groups and youth groups
  • voluntary services
  • health practitioners

Find out more about the Prevent strategy

Spotting the signs

The journey to becoming radicalised is different for everyone and there are many reasons why someone becomes vulnerable. Radicalisation can take place very quickly, or over a long period of time.

More important than any one specific sign is the sense that something is not quite right with the person you’re worried about. You could spot one sign or a combination of signs that seem to be increasing in intensity. 

However, there are certain behaviours you can watch out for that we often see when someone is being led down the path of extremism.

Visit ACT Early to find out more about the signs that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

Share a concern

You’re best placed to spot when something’s not right with someone close. So trust your instincts and tell us your concerns in confidence.

The earlier you tell us your worries, the quicker we can get the person you care about the help they need to protect them from being groomed and radicalised. We’re here to help. You won’t be wasting our time.

Often there’s no need for ongoing police involvement and the right support could be provided by teachers, health or social workers, or specialist mentors.

To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit which is a helpful resource with advice, practical tips on how to start a conversation with someone you’re worried about, online safety advice and real stories.

If you have concerns about any of your friends, neighbours or relatives, you can tell us about them by clicking ‘Make a referral’ below to complete our quick and simple online form. If it’s an emergency, please call 999.

You can also email the Prevent Team or call them on 01785 232054.

You can also call the national police Prevent advice line 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to share your concerns with our specially trained officers.

If it’s an emergency, please call 999.

If you see online material promoting terrorism or extremism, you can report it online.

You can speak to your local policing team or your local council community team about helping run local events about Prevent.

We’ll attend your event to make sure our communities understand the work we’re doing and have a say in the way we do it.

We’ll tell you more about the signs and behavioural changes to look out for in someone who might be becoming involved in terrorism or extremism and explain who might be at risk.

What support is available

Anyone who is referred to Prevent is assessed by the local authority and other partners, including the police, to see if they’re suitable for Channel, Prevent’s specialist support scheme.

Channel is a voluntary, confidential, early intervention programme that supports people who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism.

To help determine if someone is suitable for support through Channel, a Channel panel is chaired by the local authority, who meet with police, health professionals and other partners to discuss the person you are worried about, and decide on what tailored package of support can be offered to them.

If Channel support isn’t deemed appropriate – for example, if the person is at risk of harm but they aren’t being radicalised – they may be signposted to other safeguarding services for help.

Channel support includes things like theological or ideological mentoring, help with mental health, drug or alcohol abuse issues, as well as education and career advice. Taking part in Channel doesn’t go on someone’s criminal record, and won’t negatively impact their future education or career prospects. It means getting the right kind of help for the person who needs support to move away from extremism.