In the wake of devastating UK terrorist attacks, emotions have been running high. It’s common knowledge that many of the attackers were known to the police, but do people know what happens once a report is made?
So often people ask in fear: so if a potential terrorist is reported before they’ve done anything illegal?
a) the police won’t do anything, or,
b) they’ll be instantly arrested?
Channel is the way local authorities try to de-radicalise individuals; it’s a referral process only carried out if the subject subscribes to an extremist ideology and demonstrates a violent expression moving towards terrorism.
The local authority has a responsibility to set up a multi-agency panel discussion that can share appropriate information about the person. Channel then assesses the risk through a non-exhaustive 22 quota of vulnerabilities. After review, somebody must show: engagement, intent, and capability of terrorism. Only then will they be subject to the prevent intervention process.
This involves multiple different agencies coming together to make a customised support system for the individual. If illegal travel is a risk, it is likely that they will have their passport confiscated by the police, or if they are being taught twisted religious ideologies, an intervention provider of that same faith (who may have even shared their journey of reform) will engage them in discussions to help detonate their hatred safely.
Charities, schools, the police, and the council all share information to make an informed decision. The system tries its best to be objective and keep everyone safe.
Unfortunately, the right cases don’t always reach Channel. Its sometimes hard to take a report forward and family members have had to push through third party charities to make channel happen. In other cases, panels may be held for people who should never have been referred in the first place.
Public awareness of Channel is very low, with many people not even knowing that Prevent exists. It’s alarming that minority groups know the most about these policies because they feel persecuted by them (source: my on conversations with anyone about terror ever).
This is particularly alarming because according to the 2015 policy update, we are all under ‘duty’ as a society to uphold a set of guidelines most of the population know nothing about.
We need more education about what Prevent is, and what it does, for everyone, anywhere in the country. We need an open, informed discussion. No matter what our political views on the strategy are, we should all agree on that. The UK needs to be equipped with the knowledge of what will happen if we report our friends and family to the police, and we need to have a strong, informed counter-narrative to terrorist ideas if we are expected to prevent it’s attrocities.
If you want to support an initiative driving forward this kind of education, follow this link.
SOURCE: – Channel Duty Guidance 2015 –