The Home Office has recently released its latest set of statistics on the UK Prevent strategy and Channel programme for the period April 2016 to March 2017. Perhaps the standout headline was that radical right referrals to Prevent have risen by more than a quarter since the previous year. In fact, individuals with a radical right ideology now account for over a third of those that receive intervention from Channel- the safeguarding process that supports the most vulnerable, high-risk Prevent referrals.
As a practitioner who has worked with Prevent since 2013, the radical right has always impacted my work and has accounted for nearly 50% of the cases that I have personally been involved with. At its heart, Prevent is a safeguarding duty that tries to support vulnerable people who may be at risk of radicalisation and extremism. But how do we support people who are immersed in radical right ideology?
In my experience, there is no single pathway to radicalisation and every case I have dealt with has been unique. So it is incumbent upon us to treat people as individuals, consider their particular vulnerabilities and put Channel support in place that is bespoke for that individual’s needs. A good example of how this works in practice can be found in one of the first Prevent cases I ever encountered.
It began as a domestic incident where a teenage boy who was holding a hunting knife and wearing a Friday the 13th-style hockey mask threatened police. Chillingly, the boy had decorated the mask with Nazi swastikas and a toothbrush moustache (commonly associated with Adolf Hitler). He had scrawled various sinister signs and slogans all over the mask. These included “white pride,” “SS,” a Star of David with a cross through it, and the numbers “14” and “88”. Concerned officers referred the boy to Prevent.