The Prevent Strategy

  • By Graeme Brown
  • Mar 02, 2018

Terrorism and extremism are issues that affect almost every country from across the globe. For this reason, there has been an international effort to put measures and policies in place that tackle this issue. This is done at two levels; Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE). In support of international efforts, many countries have put additional policies in place that relate specifically to measures put in place in various organisations in their own countries. In the United Kingdom, this strategy is called Prevent.

What Is the Difference Between CVE and PVE?

Often, the terms CVE and PVE are used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between these two terms. Countering Violent Extremism relates to identifying and deterring those who are at risk of radicalisation and those who are already radicalised. Those to whom this is relevant are usually law and government agencies, such as the police and senior government officials, who are involved in disrupting recognised terrorist groups.

On the other hand, Preventing Violent Extremism is what is often regarded as the softer side of counter-terrorism and includes a broader spectrum of people. It involves increasing awareness of and building a resilience to extremism. The people who are involved in implementing this are those working in non-traditional security roles, such as teachers, care workers, social workers, and community leaders.

What is Prevent?

Of all the national policies put in place to support the international strategies, Prevent is perhaps the most well-known. Prevent is the strategy of the United Kingdom that relates to PVE. The UK counter-terrorism strategy is based on a framework called ‘The 4 Ps’; Prepare, Protect, Pursue, Prevent. The Prevent strategy relates to the fourth strand of this framework.

The Labour government initially devised the 4P strategy, but it was not implemented for many years. In 2011, the coalition government widened the remit of these policies as a way of separating integration work with communities from direct counter-terrorism activities.

There are three main objectives of the Prevent strategy. These are:

    1.       To challenge the ideology that is supporting terrorism and to challenge those who are promoting terrorism.

    2.       To protect vulnerable people.

    3.       To support institutions and sectors where there is an identified risk of radicalisation.

The strategy is intended to provide training to those individuals and groups who are delivering counter-narrative campaigns. This training includes a range of support, advice, social media training, and production capabilities.

The Law Relating to the Prevent Strategy

While the advice given to agencies were once merely suggestions of the things that workers could or should do in the workplace, they now have an obligation to implement the Prevent strategy. The law was changed in 2015 so that specific organisations are working towards preventing people from being drawn into terrorism.

Organisations that this applies to includes schools, universities, higher education establishments, the NHS, social services, the police, local councils, and criminal justice bodies. As part of their duty, these organisations have a responsibility to consider whether a referral to the Channel program is necessary for those at risk.

Training in Relation to Extremism and Radicalisation

It is essential that those working in sectors that are obliged to implement the Prevent strategy have. They need to know how to identify risks, have a clear understanding of issues surrounding extremism and radicalisation, what their roles and responsibilities are in relation to implementing the Prevent strategy. Check out our e-learning course and our continuous professional development course to find out more about developing a greater awareness of these issues and how to implement the Prevent strategy at

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