A poll has revealed the public has no faith in the government’s anti-radicalisation scheme, with 96 per cent of respondents saying it is a failure.
The coalition government’s flagship Prevent strategy was unveiled in June 2011 as part of its attack on extremism in Britain, and further revamped last year. It followed a review of the previous Labour government’s failed anti-radicalisation attempt. The three main objectives were:
“to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it; to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support; and to work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.”
Today the Daily Express reports that only four per cent of respondents to a poll believe the anti-radicalisation strategy can be described as effective. Indeed, the independent research agency that ran the poll — BMG Research — was so surprised by the shocking result they re-ran the survey to double check.
The survey also found that 19 per cent of the 1,511 adults asked were not even aware that the Government has an active anti-radicalisation strategy. BMG’s Research Director Dr Michael Turner said:
“The Government is clearly doing a poor job communicating any progress of its strategy to the wider public.”
Embarrassingly for advocates of the strategy, it was revealed yesterday that Prevent staff were aware of Junead Khan — the 25-year-old Luton lorry driver found guilty of plotting a Lee Rigby-style Islamic terrorist attack against U.S. military personnel stationed in Britain — but no effective action was taken in the year before he was eventually arrested.
Referral to the Prevent programme came after Mr. Khan had attended a number of extremist talks in Luton, reports The Telegraph. He refused to participate and even mocked the approaches of a Prevent engagement officer in online conversations.
Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command, explained that “the Prevent Programme needs the individual to engage. It needs a willingness on their part, and he refused. He completely refused to engage.”
Bella Sankey, Director of Policy for human rights and freedoms campaign group Liberty, said labelled the poll a “damning indictment” of Prevent, which she said is “clumsy and offensive”. She added:
“The Government has had no qualms dismissing the valid concerns of human rights campaigners, teachers and religious groups, but the British public will prove harder to brush off.”