National channel referral figures
Channel is a process that has developed to provide support to people at risk of being drawn towards support for or involvement in all forms of terrorism including that which is perpetrated by the extreme far-right. It is a multi-agency process that relies on close collaboration between police, partners and other key stakeholders. Channel provides a mechanism for ensuring that individuals are referred to and assessed by a multi-agency panel and where necessary, provides an appropriate support package tailored to an individual’s needs.
Channel began as a Home Office pilot back in 2007 in two police forces; prior to the Prevent strategy being fully developed. It expanded again in 2008 and again in 2009 and now operates across England and Wales.
Channel works in a similar way to other initiatives that have sought to support individuals at risk from involvement in gangs, drugs and other social issues. This approach has assisted in embedding Channel firmly within partnership arrangements.
As Channel processes have matured, the number of Channel referrals nationally has increased and now stands at a total figure of 3934 referrals (between April 2007 and the March 31, 2014). We are able to break this total figure down further to provide more detail:
Not all individuals referred will be assessed as being vulnerable to being drawn into violent extremism or in need of support from Channel. Of the total figure some 777 (20 per cent of referrals) were assessed by a multi-agency panel to be vulnerable to being attracted towards terrorism and will have gone onto receive support through the Channel process. Individuals assessed as not being vulnerable to being drawn into violent extremism will have exited the process and signposted to other services more appropriate to their needs.
Channel supports vulnerable individuals of any age, including impressionable young people. Through statutory Safeguarding and the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) arrangements frontline professionals are particularly well placed to recognise, protect and support young people at risk of being drawn towards violent extremism. Channel is not specifically aimed at young people but they can be particularly susceptible and therefore vulnerable to being influenced by extremist views. Between April 2007 and the end of March 2014) Channel received a total of 1450 referrals that were under 18 years of age at the time they were referred. Many of these referrals will not have been suitable for Channel and will have been signposted to other services more appropriate to their needs.
Channel supports individuals of any faith, ethnicity or background from being drawn into any type of violent extremism, including the extreme far right.
The greatest threat the UK currently faces is from terrorists who claim to act in the name of Islam, and who specifically target Muslims. Therefore Prevent activity such as the support offered through Channel predominately takes place in and with Muslim communities. However, the principles of Channel apply equally to other communities who may be the focus of attention from violent extremist groups. Between April 2012 and the end of March 2014 the percentage of referrals that were recorded as being Muslim was 56 per cent per cent, with other religions accounting for 11 per cent and where the religion is not known accounting for 33 per cent.
All communities are affected by the threat from terrorism but the nature and the extent of the threat will vary across the country. Police, partners and stakeholders will continue to work in collaboration to ensure Channel and its principles are assimilated into mainstream activity to support individuals vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.
Please note: From 2014/15 Channel figures are the responsibility of the Home Office