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What is Prevent?

Prevent forms part of the government’s Counter Terrorism strategy called Contest. The aim of Prevent is to stop people becoming or supporting terrorists, challenging the spread of terrorist ideology and protecting vulnerable individuals.

Common Misunderstandings about Prevent

Prevent is not about catching terrorists, it is about identifying people who may be at risk of radicalisation and supporting them to change direction in a way that will help them. It is not ‘spying on communities’. Those suspected of being engaged in illegal activity will be managed through the criminal justice system in accordance with normal criminal justice processes. Prevent is about working with communities to help them support vulnerable people and build resilience to groups or individuals who seek to create divisions and cause harm.

There are only a very small number of people who support terrorist activity, or are likely to. The vast majority of people, in all communities, want to see terrorism prevented, and want to play their part as good citizens in helping to make that happen.

Prevent work covers all forms of potential terrorism, such as Islamist extremism, the Far Right, Irish Republican, animal rights and environmental.

How do I make a Prevent referral in Cumbria?

If you have a Prevent concern about someone please send this referral form to: prevent@cumbria.police.uk

If you don’t have access to a referral form please email your concern with as much detail as possible. Please include the full name and date of birth of the person, their home address and your contact details in case we need to get back to you. All referrals are treated as being confidential.

If you are still unsure of what to do please email and we will get back to you with our advice.

What happens when I make a referral?

The information you provide will be reviewed by the Police Prevent Officer. We might need to re-contact you for further information to help us better understand the concern. If your concern does not meet the criteria for Prevent we will explain why. If the concern does meet the criteria then we will share the information with the Local Authority who will decide how best to progress the case and how they will support that person and protect others from harm. The Police Prevent Officer helps the Local Authority do this.

What happens when someone is identified at risk?

One of the main elements of our Prevent work is a programme called Channel. Where people who are assessed as being vulnerable to supporting any form of violent extremism are provided with multi-agency support that is tailored for each case. It could consist of help with family problems, mental health support, mentoring, religious support and others. People who are referred to Channel are not criminals; we are trying to stop people committing offences and getting into trouble.

Keeping children, young people, vulnerable adults and the community safe from these risks is a safeguarding matter and is approached in the same way as any other safeguarding concern.

Channel is a partnership approach to support individuals vulnerable to recruitment by violent extremists. Front line professionals from all partner agencies assess the nature and extent of vulnerability and look at ways to assist people it.

Channel is not always necessary and there may be other less intensive means of supporting a person.

The role of the Police in Prevent

Disrupting terrorist activity, preventing radicalisation and supporting those vulnerable to becoming involved in violent extremism is a shared responsibility under the Prevent Duty. Within Cumbria Police, a dedicated Prevent Team puts significant effort into building relationships with local police officers and other specialist departments, local partners and communities to:

1. Increase multi-agency understanding of Prevent

2. Build a shared understanding of threat, risk and vulnerability

3. Work with partners to find common solutions

4. Increase confidence within our communities.

5. Assisting the Local Authority as they look to safeguard those referred.

Engagement is a key part of our work. This can be best described as Neighbourhood Policing within a Counter Terrorism context. Prevent Officers work with local communities to identify tensions and grievances. They build relationships with key community contacts to provide reassurance and help build resilience.

Prevent Officers aim to encourage ongoing discussions with communities in order to make sure that terrorism is prevented from taking root in our communities and neighbourhood's. They support the wider engagement activities already taking place in schools, places of worship and community groups. Through this work we are strengthening communities in order to challenge the ideologies and messages of hate which could lead to terrorism.

Partner Engagement is the key to building relationships with organisations and individuals locally who own a stake in managing risk and protecting vulnerable communities and individuals.

If you would like to seek advice or support you can contact us at prevent@cumbria.police.uk