Is Prevent preventing terrorism in London?

18 May 2015

This meeting took place on 19 May 2015. Read the transcript here.

The Government’s Prevent strategy has been controversial ever since it was introduced in 2005, following the 7/7 terrorist attacks. Its aim was to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

But the strategy was criticised for encouraging police heavy-handedness and spying on members of the public, predominantly in Muslim communities; leading many to see it as discriminatory. There were also accusations that money was inadvertently being used to fund activities by extremist individuals and groups because of poor vetting procedures.

The Prevent strategy was revised in 2011, but it has still not been able to shake off the perception that it is a police-run. The introduction of a new legal duty on a range of publicly-funded institutions to take greater responsibility in preventing people being drawn into terrorism, underlines the government’s commitment that Prevent is a multi-agency programme.

But despite all these changes, how confident can we be that Prevent is working in London?

Is enough known about Prevent and the kinds of activities it funds? How much is being spent on it in London and is it enough?

And how will Prevent seek to address future challenges, for example, the increasing threat of online radicalisation?

The London Assembly Police and Crime Committee will tomorrow launch its investigation into the Prevent strategy by examining how it is delivered across London, how it could be delivered in the future, and the challenges it will need to address.

The Committee will hear from the following guests:

  • Professor Martin Innes, Cardiff University
  • Shiraz Maher, Senior Research Fellow, The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence
  • Martin Esom, Chief Executive, London Borough of Waltham Forest
  • Diane Egan, Community Safety Team Leader, London Borough of Havering

The Committee recognises that London could learn from other regions about how to deliver Prevent in the future, so will examine how the strategy is implemented in other UK cities as part of the investigation. This will include a visit to Birmingham City Council where social workers, education staff and councillors oversee Prevent activity.

The meeting takes place tomorrow, Tuesday 19 May from 10am in the Chamber, City Hall (The Queen’s Walk, London SE1).

Media and members of the public are invited to attend.

The meeting can also be viewed via webcast.


Notes to editors

Notes for Editors:

  1. The agenda and committee papers are available here.
  2. Joanne McCartney AM, Chair of the Police and Crime Committee is available for interview. See contact details below.
  3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
  4. For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.