We need a new policy that engages communities—rather than alienating peopleby Alistair Carmichael / October 12, 2016 / Leave a comment
The Prevent strategy has failed. Despite it going through various iterations, it remains a fatally flawed programme. It is distrusted by the communities it professes to try and work with to tackle radicalisation and extremism. Without their buy-in, no matter what changes the government proposes, or what million-pound makeover it undergoes, it will still be a failure. That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for it to be scrapped.
The strategy’s aims are laudable. Prevention is the best cure and the government should take an active role in preventing people from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists themselves. However, in order to do this effectively and successfully it must be credible and wherever possible implemented at a community level, and here Prevent falls down.
This is a view shared by David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. In a recent interview he argued that “it is frustrating for me to see a programme, whose ideals are so obviously good, falling down on the delivery to the point where it is not trusted in the community where it principally applies.”
Simply put, the brand has become toxic beyond repair. In fact, there are signs that it might actually be working against its professed aims. The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to freedom of assembly recently said “by dividing, stigmatising and alienating segments of the population, Prevent could end up promoting extremism, rather than countering it.”
Prevent is meant to ke…