Amber Rudd: Prevent strategy is here to stay
The Home Secretary has hit back at critics of the Prevent strategy, and said the Government’s anti-extremism programme is “here to stay”.
Amber Rudd gave her backing to the head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command, Dean Haydon, who said earlier this week many attacks on Prevent were a product of “ignorance” or came from those who never wanted the programme to succeed.
The Prevent programme is designed to root out extremism by working within communities. Although it was primarily aimed at tackling Islamism, it has increasingly begun to focus on the far-right.
But it has been plagued by criticism in recent years, with the Government's own independent reviewer of terror legislation saying many Muslims view it as "toxic".
In an article for The Sun newspaper, Ms Rudd defended the existing scheme, and challenged its opponents to come up with proposals for a replacement.
“Safeguarding our young people from becoming radicalised, either by the extreme right wing or Islamist extremists, should not be a controversial aim,” she wrote.
“Yet there are some who actively seek to undermine the Prevent programme without offering any meaningful alternatives.”
She said it was “not true” to suggest that Prevent was designed to target Muslim communities.
And she also defended the programme’s success rate, citing claims that it helped to stop 150 people going to fight with Daesh in 2015.
“I want to say to these critics, Prevent has made a significant impact in preventing people being drawn into terrorism and it is here to stay,” Ms Rudd added.
“Prevent will continue to play a major part in our future counter terrorism approach.
“I am happy to engage those with constructive criticisms to make, who want to discuss and debate how the Prevent programme can be improved. But I am clear that when it comes to keeping our families, communities and country safe, doing nothing is simply not an option.
“It is difficult work but it is vital. And nobody should be able to stop it from happening.”