Prevent is part of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST and aims to safeguard and provide support to divert vulnerable individualsat risk from being radicalised or groomed into supporting terrorist activity, before any crimes are committed. Radicalisation is comparable to other forms of exploitation, such as grooming and Child Sexual Exploitation. It is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies associated with terrorist groups. Radicalisation is process rather than an event, and there is no single profile or pathway by which someone can be drawn into terrorism.
There are instead a range of contributing factors including, peer pressure, bullying, family tensions, race/hate crime, lack of self-esteem or identity and personal or political grievances which can make people more vulnerable. Vulnerable individuals are often targeted and influenced by radicalisers either directly or increasingly in online chat rooms or through social media. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015) places a specific legal duty on specified authorities, including local authorities and health providers in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people being drawn into terrorism.
Channel is a confidential, voluntary, multi-agency safeguarding process designed to support vulnerable children and adults who may be at risk of being radicalised and drawn into terrorist activity.
It is an early intervention service which has been mandated in every local authority in England and Wales. Channel addresses all types of radicalisation including the extreme. Referrals in Berkshire are to be made to: Preventreferrals@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk
2.4.1 Channel Panel
A Channel Panel is chaired by the local authority and has multi agency involvement including from police, social services and health
The panel works collaboratively to assess the nature and extent of the risk and, if necessary, provide an appropriate support package tailored to the vulnerable individual’s needs. This is monitored closely and regularly reviewed. The care plan will vary according to the risk that has been identified, and may include targeted interventions (including faith guidance, counselling or diversionary activities) or access to specific services, such as health or education.
Local safeguarding structures have a role to play for those eligible for adult safeguarding. Referrals to Channel can be made through the local authority Prevent lead or the local police Prevent engagement officer (Preventreferrals@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk).
The Channel Vulnerability Assessment is used by safeguarding professionals in the Channel Panel to identify specific factors which make some vulnerable to extremist messages and provide appropriate support as required. It should be read alongside the Channel Duty Guidance (2015) .