Working with other organisations, the police protect vulnerable people from being exploited by extremists through a Home Office programme called Prevent.
The role of our Prevent Officers is to help people vulnerable to radicalisation move away from extremism. It can be hard to know what to do if you’re worried someone close is expressing extreme views or hatred, which could lead to them harming themselves or others. We’re here to listen and offer help and advice.
Working with partners, our Prevent officers have helped many people to move away from extremism and find a new direction by putting the right package of support in place, which could be from a doctor, through a school, or with a local community group or mentor.
We work with a range of partners including:
schools and colleges
community groups, including women’s groups and youth groups
Find out more about the Prevent strategy and watch this video, co-produced by our Prevent Team, which tells the story of a young man who's being targeted and groomed by a terrorist organisation.
Birth of a terrorist
Spotting the signs
The journey to becoming radicalised is different for everyone and there are many reasons why someone becomes vulnerable. Radicalisation can take place very quickly, or over a long period of time.
More important than any one specific sign is the sense that something is not quite right with the person you’re worried about. You could spot one sign or a combination of signs that seem to be increasing in intensity.
However, there are certain behaviours you can watch out for that we often see when someone is being led down the path of extremism.
Visit ACT Early to find out more about the signs that someone may be vulnerable to radicalisation.
Share a concern
You’re best placed to spot when something’s not right with someone close. So trust your instincts and tell us your concerns in confidence.
The earlier you tell us your worries, the quicker we can get the person you care about the help they need to protect them from being groomed and radicalised. We’re here to help. You won’t be wasting our time.
Often there’s no need for ongoing police involvement and the right support could be provided by teachers, health or social workers, or specialist mentors.
To find out more about how to help someone close to you visit actearly.uk which is a helpful resource with advice, practical tips on how to start a conversation with someone you’re worried about, online safety advice and real stories.
You can also call the national police Prevent advice line 0800 011 3764, in confidence, to share your concerns with our specially trained officers.
We’ll attend your event to make sure our communities understand the work we’re doing and have a say in the way we do it.
We’ll tell you more about the signs and behavioural changes to look out for in someone who might be becoming involved in terrorism or extremism and explain who might be at risk.
What support is available
Anyone who is referred to Prevent is assessed by the local authority and other partners, including the police, to see if they’re suitable for Channel, Prevent’s specialist support scheme.
Channel is a voluntary, confidential, early intervention programme that supports people who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
To help determine if someone is suitable for support through Channel, a Channel panel is chaired by the local authority, who meet with police, health professionals and other partners to discuss the person you are worried about, and decide on what tailored package of support can be offered to them.
If Channel support isn’t deemed appropriate – for example, if the person is at risk of harm but they aren’t being radicalised – they may be signposted to other safeguarding services for help.
Channel support includes things like theological or ideological mentoring, help with mental health, drug or alcohol abuse issues, as well as education and career advice. Taking part in Channel doesn’t go on someone’s criminal record, and won’t negatively impact their future education or career prospects. It means getting the right kind of help for the person who needs support to move away from extremism.