Frequently Asked Questions

Is Prevent a cover for spying?

  • No. Prevent is not a cover for spying or for other covert activity. Neither the current Prevent strategy nor the previous one, advocate spying. Prevent is guided by the principle that it will not be used as a means for covert spying on people or communities.
  • In June 2011 the Government recognised that there needs to be greater transparency in the way that Prevent is delivered, as well as efforts to increase trust in the programme.

What is the threat to the UK from Far Right extremism?

  • We remain alert to the far right terrorist threat, but it needs to bekept in perspective.
  • Extreme Far Right terrorism in this country remains rare. Those prosecuted have been self–starting groups and individuals, rather than any part of a centrally directed terrorist organisation.

The Government is simply paying lip–service to the idea that it is also concerned with Far Right Extremism.

  • The Prevent strategy is committed to addressing all forms of extremism which could lead to terrorism, including Far Right Extremism. A number of practical steps have been taken to address Far Right Extremism. This includes:
  • Where possible the Home Secretary has denied extremist speaker’s entry to the UK including those from the Far Right.
  • Local Prevent projects include those which address radicalisation to the Far Right.
  • Channel, the multi–agency Prevent programme which supports vulnerable individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorist–related activity, has supported individuals vulnerable to Far Right Extremism.
  • Training to help those who engage with vulnerable people recognise warning signs that someone is drifting towards extremism has been given to thousands of frontline staff in jobs across schools, prisons, social services and health. This training includes recognition of Far Right Extremism.

Prevent is an intrusion of people’s privacy and restricts freedom of speech.

  • Freedom of speech and conscience are protected in the UK. People also have the right to legitimate protest and activism.

Does Prevent confront Islamist ideology?

  • Islamism is a very broad term which is used to cover a range of different views. In the broadest sense it promotes the application of Islamic values to modern governance. However there are no commonly agreed definitions of ’Islamism’ and ’Islamist’, and those described as ’Islamist’ often have very different views about how their aims might be brought about.
    Prevent is only concerned with those ideologies which support terrorism or create an environment conducive to it. This includes aspects of extremism where that extremism popularises ideas which are also part of terrorist narratives.

What is Schedule 7?

  • Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended by the Anti–Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2011) enables an examining officer to examine (stop, question and search) a person at a port or in a border area to determine whether they are someone who is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Does Schedule 7 target Muslims?

  • No – ports officers who use Schedule 7 powers do not target Muslims or other ethnic groups. The statutory Code of Practice for Examining Officers and NPIA Guidance makes clear that someone cannot be examined solely on their ethnicity or religion.
  • Use of the powers is based on the current terrorist threat to the UK meaning certain routes are given greater focus. Consequently, some ethnic groups may be more likely to be examined.
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