Preventing extremism in London
- The Government's Prevent Strategy was first introduced after the 7/7 terrorist attacks in 2005, with the aim of deterring people from participating in, or supporting, violent extremism.
- The strategy has been criticised for encouraging police heavy-handedness and spying on members of the public, predominantly in Muslim communities; leading many to see it as discriminatory.
- The Committee examined the impact of Prevent in London with the Met, MOPAC, London boroughs, and other partners. The investigation found that preventing extremism is high on the agenda of all boroughs, however the support offered to boroughs widely differs. ‘Priority boroughs’ are each allocated a Prevent Coordinator and Home Office funding, yet ‘non-priority boroughs’ are expected to integrate Prevent into other areas of local authority activity.
- It also heard that openness about the issues and how they are being tackled will enhance efforts to prevent extremism, as well as involving the public in debate and efforts to support people at risk.
The report welcomes the introduction of a London CONTEST Board - which will oversee the implementation of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy in the capital - and recommends that it ensures all London boroughs are supported to deliver excellent intervention through joined-up working.
This report represents the view of the majority of the Committee. Jenny Jones AM does not support this report. Her views are set out in a minority opinion in Chapter 6.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
- There needs to be a ‘dare to share’ approach to Prevent - regular, open and honest communication with the public about what is happening in London is needed.
- Londoners should be more involved in discussions about the best ways to prevent extremism across the capital.
- The London CONTEST Board should explore what is happening across London to tackle online radicalisation and develop strong counter-narratives to tackle extremist messages.
Impact and next steps
The report continues to help shape the debate around the application of Prevent in London. It contributed to the development of the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, with the findings and recommendations on tackling extremism being reflected in the plan. The Committee will continue to discuss the application of Prevent in London through its Q&A meetings.