Counter-terrorism: foreign fighters - Home Affairs Contents


·  Preventative work with communities must be a top priority for the Home's Office's de-radicalisation work. It is urgent that partnerships are developed with mosques and that they play a key role in Prevent counter-terrorism programmes.

·  The Prime Minister's Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism stated that the 'Ibaana' prison counter-radicalisation programme would be rolled out in full across British prisons by April 2014. The implementation of this programme across the country must be clearly outlined to specific deadlines. It is vital that individuals working with prisoners, particularly those offering counselling, should undergo specific training to equip them to combat extremist ideologies.

·  It is particularly important that prisoners who have demonstrated extremist views in prison should receive support, monitoring and appropriate intervention on their release, including through the Channel programme. The Channel programme should be strengthened to provide long-term, effective monitoring of participants, to ensure proper evaluation of these prevention programmes.

·  Where social media companies are given evidence that users of their services are seeking to promote violent extremism, they should be prepared to take action to suspend their accounts, as they do where there is abuse or harassment of other users.

·  Communication between the police, schools and parents is in need of vast improvement. The police must engage in a regular and open dialogue with schools and community groups to ensure that information is exchanged and new initiatives can be explored at community level. Schools and the police must inform parents immediately, and work together when there is even the smallest hint of radicalisation, or a close association with someone who is thought to have been radicalised.

·  It is essential that the officers working on the Prevent programme, as in other areas of the police, are truly reflective and representative of British society.

·  There needs to be an advice service open to all, particularly targeted at parents who wish to seek advice or express concerns about a particular individual. This must be well publicised, and be a less extreme step than using the Anti-Terrorist Hotline. There is a fear of stigmatisation among communities and such a helpline could go some way in changing these attitudes. This method should be included in the Prevent strategy.

·  The universality of the internet has enabled people to be radicalised in their bedrooms unnoticed by others. Policing social media sites such as Twitter, a means by which many IS propaganda has been spread for example, is impossible. Young people need to be equipped with the skills to become critical consumers of online content, in order to build a more natural resistance against radicalisation through online extremist content and propaganda. This is not just about counter-radicalisation: an informed, critical and questioning approach to online sources is a valuable asset in all aspects of a young person's social and intellectual development.

·  International efforts to work in unison to tackle the growing number of young people travelling to these conflict zones to join extremist groups must be strengthened urgently.

·  We are disappointed that the Home Office has not implemented a programme for individuals returning to Britain where there is evidence that they have fought in Syria. It is vital that the Government works with mental health practitioners and also assesses the Aarhus process to ensure that the UK's programme best integrates those returning from conflict zones such as Syria.

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Prepared 26 March 2015