The latest Prevent figures show why the strategy needs an independent review

Source: The Guardian

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, is writing in a personal capacity

“Winning hearts and minds” was the title of the government’s action plan to isolate, prevent and defeat violent extremism in 2007. Ten years later, hearts and minds are yet to be won.

The Prevent strategy (2011) and the subsequent Prevent duty (2015) – whereby public authorities are required to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” – have instead become a “significant source of grievance” among studentsteachersacademicshuman rights groups and broader civil society, encouraging “mistrust to spread and to fester”.

In a year when we have suffered a series of terror threats, it is clear we need a counter-radicalisation strategy that is effective and has the trust of our entire society. The Home Office’s latest attempt to reverse the loss of trust over the past decade, therefore, is very welcome. In a new report, it has opened a small door into the inner workings of Prevent: who is doing the referring, what happens to those referred, who is being referred and for what reason?

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