Two weeks ago I was booked to deliver some training on the Prevent Duty. When I turned on the radio first thing on that morning, I realised it was going to be no ordinary day. I learned that the night before a suicide bomber had killed 22 people at a music concert in Manchester. Many of the dead were young girls. I was shaken by the accounts of families searching for their loved ones, of the rising body count and of all the details of the bloody tragedy as they unfolded. It was the biggest attack this country had seen in ten years, and it took place on the anniversary of the murder of Lee Rigby.
I felt very emotional driving to the training and on the way decided to acknowledge what had happened by checking in with the participants at the start of the session.
Never has my work felt more relevant. This week, with news of another terrorist incident in the streets of London, our minds have become even more focused towards tackling extremism. More than ever before, I believe that all settings who work with children and families need to be crystal clear when it comes to their role in preventing terrorism.
From 1 July 2015 schools and childcare settings are subject to a Duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This is known as the Prevent Duty.
When I am carrying out a Safeguarding Audit in my role as a Safeguarding Consultant, I look for the following to ensure the setting is fully up to date with Prevent:
- A clear and up to date Radicalisation policy in place, preferably integrated with the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy which includes information on reporting, recording and referring concerns.
- Comprehensive training in Prevent offered to the whole staff, volunteers and governors/trustees which should include knowledge of what radicalisation means, why people may be vulnerable to it, how to challenge extremism and referral pathways. I would also recommend that the Designated Safeguarding Lead and their deputy should attend training in Prevent at more depth to be fully informed about their key leadership role in challenging radicalisation.
- A detailed Risk Assessment which should clearly demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the risk of radicalisation at their particular setting.
- Evidence of effective partnership working and links with key agencies that are working on Prevent strategies and combatting terrorism.
- Clear policies, procedures and coordination seeking to keep children safe online. I also recommend twilight training for Parents on eSafety to reinforce safety messages in the home.
- Staff members who are able to identify ‘at risk’ children and are aware of what to do when vulnerable children are identified.
- A broad range of learning opportunities for children that promote fundamental British values, provide a safe space to enable everyone to understand the risks associated with terrorism and help children develop the knowledge and skills to be able to challenge extremist arguments.
- Concerns should be made to:
- First Response (if involving children): 0117 903 6444 (Bristol only)
- Care Direct (if involving vulnerable adults): 0800 002 9227 (Bristol only)
- If anyone is in immediate danger call 999
- For information and advice:
- Police Prevent Team: 0117 9455539 (Bristol only)
- Confidential anti-terrorist hotline: 0800 789 321
- Visit your local police station
- Local police officer or PCSO: 101
- Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
- Online reporting of suspected terrorism can be made to:
- Up to date local information on Prevent can be found on this webpage: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/newsroom/features/preventing-terrorism-and-extremism/