CONTEST/Prevent/Official narrative

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The offical objective of PREVENT is that the project aims to engage and work with Muslim communities in order to:[1]

  • Undermine extremist voices and ideologies so that mainstream voices can speak for the majority of Muslims, who are peaceful and law-abiding citizens
  • Disrupt those who promote violence as a methodology for change by strengthening moderate voices and their ability to counter the simplistic arguments and solutions to perceived and real grievances.
  • Work with law-enforcement agencies, communities and community leaders to help bring back individuals who may be showing signs of radicalisation and/or extremism through programmes such as the Channel Programme
  • Strengthen the Muslim community as a whole to counter the ideas and beliefs of extremists
  • Address the grievances that extremists may use to justify their arguments and actions, such as the Iraq war.

Prevent has two supporting objectives: 6. to develop supporting intelligence, analysis and information, and 7. improve Strategic Communications[2]

According to the wording of the official British counter-terrorism Strategy - CONTEST, the purpose of Objective 6 is

"...to: develop supporting intelligence, analysis and information...".[3]

Police Objectives

According to an ACPO Terrorism Allied Matters restricted document, the Police' role regarding the objectives of PREVENT are as follows:[4]

ACPO diagram showing the place of the following elements of the Prevent strategy: Rich Picture, Operation Delphinus, Operation Nicole, MAPPA, Channel Project [5]

Undermining Extremist Ideology

The Police aim to work toward undermining the extremist ideology and narrative so that the the pro-governmental narrative can have "greater prominence and credibility". They are trying to use this objective to "improve [their] knowledge of [Muslim] communities and how this community functions both in a social and religious context." The Police have made "considerable progress" in communicating with Muslim community groups, especially through "neighbourhood policing", which is supported by "Intelligence and Community Engagement". They aim to maximise "neighbourhood policing" for the purpose of "neighbourhood mapping", a process which includes "[c]ollecting a range of information about Muslim communities in order to enhance understanding of their needs and their dynamics to equip the police with the ability to target their activities and engagements more effectively.[6]

Disrupting Promoters of Violent Extremism

The Police aim to disrupt those that promote and advocate violent extremism, whilst strengthening those institutions that are vulnerable to being taken over and/or controlled by extremists. Universities and Schools are where a substantial element of work regarding this matter is carried out, in conjunction with partner institutions, such as the Department for Universities, Innovation and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The Police aim to educate parents about what constitutes legal and illegal activity on the internet and aim to develop advice and guidance on internet usage related to violent extremism. They also aim to establish links with institutions such as Mosques, sports centres, youth clubs, gyms and bookshops to ensure that Muslim youth's are not recruited to the ideology of violent extremism. This is accompanied by work which is done in prisons The police share information with MI5, MI6 and relevant governmental departments on "key individuals".[7]

Supporting Individuals that are Vulnerable to Radicalisation

The Police aim to create "mechanisms" for supporting people they consider vulnerable to radicalisation "to see and follow positive and compelling alternatives to violent extremist activity." The Police aim to develop strong links with communities, local authorities, Youth Offending Teams, Schools and Colleges. One of the major mechanisms for Police interventions is the Channel Project, which "takes referrals from a number of sources on individuals of concern who are exhibiting behaviours indicating a vulnerability or identification with extremism ideologies ... A programme of intervention tailored to the needs of the individual is then developed and implemented with regular reviews of progress".[8]

Increasing the Resilience of Communities to Resist Violent Extremists

Neighbourhood Policing teams aim to work within communities to help those communities build support and the resilience required to challenge the ideology of violent extremists. One of the reasons for the community mapping is to assist local police officers to identify 'at-risk' Muslim communities who should have activity focused around them. The police aim to provide help to vulnerable communities by establishing partnerships and sharing intelligence with vulnerable communities and vulnerable institutions.[9]

Effectively Addressing Grievances

The Police aim to train officers working within Muslim communities to understand, work and engage with them to ensure that their grievances can be addressed. This training will not only rely on specifically designed programmes but also on neighbourhood mapping. The Police also established the Operation Nicole excercise to allow the Muslim community to "engage in discussions about terrorism ... in a safe environment".[10]

Developing PREVENT related Intelligence, Analysis and Research

The police aim to develop intelligence, research and information so they can develop understanding about the factors that radicalise individuals.

The purpose of this objective is to ensure the police can establish mechanisms to ensure that intelligence on the Muslim community is acquired and a Rich Picture understanding is generated. This is subsequently used by the police to identify Muslims that need attention and require interventions.

The responsibility of developing community intelligence falls to Counter Terrorism Intelligence Officers, who aim to communicate with different elements/institutions in their command areas for the sake of raising “awareness of potential terrorist material [and] development of the Rich Picture. This intelligence assists the development of Operation Delphinus, the police operation which assigns different counter-terrorism tasks to local partners. [11]

Objective 7: Strategic Communications.

The police aim to ensure that their communications are inclusive and appropriate in a bid to reinforce the pro-governmental narrative, whilst simultaneously undermining the terrorist narrative. The police have developed good links with the governmental propaganda unit - the Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), which is an offshoot of the OSCT and the Home Office. [12]


References

  1. Preventing Violent Extremism: A Strategy for Delivery HM Government, Date unknown, accessed 25.11.09
  2. Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering International Terrorism March 2009, HM Government, p.85, accessed 15.03.2010.
  3. Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering International Terrorism, HM Government March 2009, p.14, accessed 17.03.10
  4. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, accessed 12.08.10
  5. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, [hhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/35833660/ACPO-Police-Prevent-Strategy Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing], 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p. 11, accessed 12.08.10
  6. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.4, accessed 12.08.10
  7. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.5, accessed 12.08.10
  8. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.6, accessed 12.08.10
  9. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.6, accessed 12.08.10
  10. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.7, accessed 12.08.10
  11. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.8, accessed 12.08.10
  12. Association of Chief Police Officers (Terrorism Allied Matters) Business Area, Police PREVENT Strategy - Partners Briefing, 'Restricted', 27 March 2008, This document is a restricted document and is not meant to be circulated outside the Local Strategic Partnership meeting, Version 1.7, p.8, accessed 12.08.10