Senior Met officer says some British Muslims 'do not want Prevent strategy to work'

Posted On: 
7th August 2017

One of the most senior Metropolitan Police officers has hit out at sections of the British Muslim community, saying some people do not want the Government's counter-extremism strategy to work.

The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police on London's Victoria Embankment

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". 

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That assessment was shared by Dal Babu, formerly one of the UK's most senior Muslim police officers, who put some of the issues down to a "spectacular lack of diversity" in the force.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted earlier this year that the Government needed to make an effort to "sell it to communities". 

"We need to do better there to show that this is a safeguarding initiative, it's about protecting young people," she said.

But Commander Dean Haydon, who heads the Metropolitan Police's Counter-Terrorism Command, put the criticisms down to "ignorance".

"Some of the criticisms come from sections of the community that, for a variety of different reasons, political or otherwise, just don't want Prevent to work in the first place," he told the BBC's Asian Network.

Commander Haydon said Prevent had provided "fantastic" results so far, and was geared towards public safety, not spying on particular communities.