Here are examples of indicators that may suggest vulnerability to violent extremism:
- Expressed opinions – such as support for violence and terrorism or the values of extremist organisations, airing of political or religious based grievances, unaccepting of other nationalities, religions or cultures.
- Material – possession of extremist literature; attempts to access extremist websites and associated password protected chat rooms; possession of material regarding weapons, explosives or military training
- Behaviour and behavioural changes – such as withdrawal from family and peers; hostility towards former associates and family; association with proscribed* organisations and those that hold extremist views (Under the Terrorism Act 2000 the Home Secretary has the power to proscribe – forbid by law – an organisation believed to be concerned in terrorism. Details of each organisation proscribed by the UK government can be viewed here)
- Personal history – Claims or evidence of involvement in organisations voicing violent extremist ideology and identifying with their cause.
Prevent is a distinct part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST which focusses on early intervention through strategies which reduce the likelihood of individuals supporting a violent or extremist ideology or becoming terrorists. Prevent applies to all forms of extremism, including far right extremism and can impact all communities regardless of faith or background.
The Government defines extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. The Government also includes in its definition of extremism, calls for the death of members of our armed forces.
Prevent is not about catching terrorists, it is about identifying people who are, or may be at risk of radicalisation, and supporting them to change direction in a way that will help them.
The vast majority of people, in all communities, need no convincing that terrorism is wrong and want to see it prevented. People from all communities want to play their part in helping to make that happen. We all have a role in ensuring that our communities are kept safe and that individuals who may be at risk of radicalisation can be provided with the help and support they need.
The purpose of Prevent is to enlist the support of people in our communities to reach the much smaller minority who may be drawn into terrorism, often through extremist views.
The Prevent strategy has three main objectives:
- Ideology – Responds to the ideological challenge we face from terrorism and aspects of extremism, and the threat we face from those who promote these views.
- Individuals – Provides practical help to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure they are given appropriate advice and support.
- Institutions – Works with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, online and health) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to deal with.
Where to go for help
If you are concerned about anyone who might be at risk of becoming radicalised, or if you are worried about someone travelling to, or returning from Syria, then you should speak to the police on 101. In an emergency, or to report a suspected terrorist incident, call the police on 999