Counter Terrorism
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Delivering Prevent

The role of police in this safeguarding programme

Prevent is a government led programme which aims to safeguard vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.

There is a multi-agency approach, with police working alongside statutory partners and communities to support those at risk from all forms of extremism.

Police officers and staff play a key role in making initial assessments and coordinating between different organisations that might be involved.

This collaborative approach to tackling terrorism enables us to reduce risk to all the communities we serve.

The principle role of specialist Prevent officers and staff is to offer advice and support to police colleagues. partner agencies, communities, individuals or organisations at risk from terrorism. This is done through group engagement activities and one-to-one contact.

Officers and staff help coordinate interventions with those at risk and monitor progress. They keep records in accordance with the Management of Police Data (MoPI) regulations and collate data for the Home Office on referrals and outcomes.

The NPCC Lead for Prevent is Chief Constable Simon Cole.

Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies. If you are worried someone close to you is becoming radicalised act early and seek help. The sooner you reach out, the quicker we can protect the person you care about from being groomed and exploited by extremists.

Police forces across the country have specially trained Prevent officers who work alongside other organisations through a Home Office programme called Prevent to help people vulnerable to radicalisation move away from violent extremism. We are here to listen and offer help and advice. Receiving support is voluntary.

Friends and family are best placed to spot the signs, so trust your instincts and tell us your concerns in confidence.

We can help if you act early. You won't be wasting our time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.

To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit

Prevent statistics can be found here.


Channel support

Prevent’s leading intervention programme

Some people referred to Prevent might be suitable for Channel - a voluntary intervention programme that aims to provide support to those assessed as being vulnerable to radicalisation.

It operates on a multi-agency basis and is chaired by the local authority.

Following a detailed assessment of the referral, if it is felt a Channel intervention would be helpful and the vulnerable individual agrees (or their parents if under 16), a Channel panel will formulate a bespoke package of support.

Depending on the case, this support could come from a housing officer, a youth worker, sports coach or faith leader.

A mentor might be involved. This can be for one session or a series until the risk to the person is assessed as being mitigated.


How the public can help

Making a call to safeguard a vulnerable person

Prevent referrals can come from anyone and the public are encouraged to contact police if they have any concerns about radicalisation. Community and faith groups of all types can also contact police for further information about the risks and teams will, where possible, arrange engagement events with these groups.

In recent years police have been particularly keen to explain the benefits of Prevent to women's groups and young people. These are often harder to reach groups for officers and there has been a concerted effort to change this.

To find out more about how get in contact, visit

You can also call the national police Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764. Remember, in an emergency always ring 999.


The warning signs

What might indicate someone is vulnerable

The journey to becoming radicalised is different for everyone. It can be quick or take time. There can be many reasons why a person becomes vulnerable. This is not an exhaustive list but experience shows us these can be indicators:

  • Being at a transitional phase in life
  • Having a need to find an identity, belonging, status or excitement
  • Being susceptible to being influenced or controlled – or wanting to dominate others
  • Feeling a sense of grievance, injustice or being under threat
  • Having an emotional desire for political or moral change
  • Having mental health related issues
  • Being secretive about social networking contacts


Mental health hubs

An innovative approach for unmet needs

Police and NHS mental health staff are now collaborating in three hubs based in London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Medical professionals are assessing referrals and helping many people get access to the support they need. Not all of these cases offered support will have a CT vulnerability but all will have unmet health needs.

Clinicians are embedded within police Prevent teams and together they are reducing the risk to individuals and the public.


Prevent in action

Real case studies from our local policing teams

A school referral helped safeguard a young man from the Midlands who was trying to get to Syria to join a sibling and his friends. All were engaged in the conflict - two are believed to have been killed.

A parental referral helped police prevent a young woman from the north of England, who wanted to marry a Daesh fighter, from travelling to Syria. She was stopped at an airport about to board a plane to Turkey.

A school referral helped turn a young man in the north east away from an extreme right wing group who were taking him down a path toward serious criminal activity.

A housing officer referral led to a man suffering the early stages of first episode psychosis getting the mental health care he desperately needed. He had been unable to access this for himself.

There are many more stories from around the country, showing how agencies have come together to significantly improve or even save lives.