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Police contribution to Prevent

How effective is the police contribution to Prevent? the official inspectorate of police has asked in its latest report. What they found was a largely encouraging picture, according to HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr. He said: “Although there is some inconsistency in the way forces operate, there were examples of innovative and effective working.” He was pleased that, since the inspection, the College of Policing now includes a module on vulnerability to radicalisation in its national safeguarding training. “This will help improve consistency between forces in how they train their officers and staff in these important areas. We have made eight recommendations that we feel, given the positive work we have seen, the service is on a solid foundation to achieve.”

Councils, and health and education bodies, had according to the report ‘mostly positive views’ about sharing general and Prevent-related information, including referrals. Most described effective processes for sharing information about individuals or after local or national incidents. The national security vetting level people have can be a barrier to effective sharing, the inspectors found. In general, however, ‘lessons learnt’ aren’t effectively identified, shared or incorporated into action, according to the report.

Similarly, inspectors found a ‘mixed’ picture as to local work to deliver Prevent ‘in communities’. They found it tends to be ‘event driven, rather than as part of a deliberate approach to promote specific messages’. Likewise, in summing up, the inspectors found some good work, such as single points of contact (SPOCs) and mapping of hate crime with location-based extremist intelligence. “But these approaches weren’t replicated across all forces.”

On that note, as for counter-terrorism local profiles (CTLPs), the frontline staff that the inspectors spoke to knew little about CTLPs. The report added: “More worryingly, most had no knowledge of the content relevant to them.” In some forces, the whole profile is shared on the force intranet; in some forces, even specialist counter-terror staff haven’t read it.

Field inspection visits were between October 2018 and February 2019. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) visited all 43 Home Office police forces in England and Wales; and British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police. For the report, visit the HMICFRS website.

Comment

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Prevent, Chief Constable Simon Cole, said: “At a time when the threat to the UK from terrorism remains at record levels, with rising numbers of investigations and an extremism crisis fuelled by a largely lawless online space, I am proud policing is helping to lead the vital fight against radicalisation. Prevent is the only strategy that will succeed in reducing the terrorism threat in the long-term – and we must do more to champion its work and improve trust in our communities.

“As this report highlights, the police service can and will make improvements to the way we carry out our Prevent duties, and as the NPCC lead I will ensure every single one of the recommendations made by the HMICFRS will be met.

“But this report also recognises the outstanding work done by police forces and their Prevent officers in protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and highlights the passion, innovation and best practice that we will strive to share across the UK so that we are all better protected from those who wish to do us harm.”


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