Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, discusses the company’s commitment to support the prevention of Extremism and Radicalisation.

The current threat from Terrorism and Extremism in the United Kingdom is real and severe and can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children and young people.

Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups. Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

PREVENT is a key part of the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Early intervention is at the heart of PREVENT in diverting people away from being drawn into terrorist activity. The PREVENT strategy objectives are:

  • Ideology: respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.

  • Individuals: prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support

  • Institutions: work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.

All staff should have an awareness of the PREVENT agenda and the various forms of radicalisation takes in being able to recognise signs and indicators or concern and respond appropriately.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical extremist’ and those involved in extremism come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. A variety of indicators may help to identify factors that suggest a young person or their family may be vulnerable or involved with extremism, including an identity crisis, where an individual may seem uncomfortable with their place in the society around them. Local community tensions and events affecting an individual’s country or region of origin can also have an effect, as well as a rejection of civic life and involvement in criminal activity.

Any identified concerns as the result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest that the young person supports terrorism and/or extremism, must be reported to the named designated safeguarding professional immediately and no later than the end of the working day.

Where a young person is thought to be at risk of significant harm, or where investigations need to be carried out (even though parental consent may be withheld), a referral to Children’s Social Care should be made in line with the company’s Safeguarding Policy. However, it should be recognised that concerns of this nature, in relation to violent extremism, are most likely to require a police investigation (as part of the Channel process).

Channel referral process

Some concerns which are identified may have a security dimension to them. For this reason, it is important that liaison with the police forms an early part of all investigations. Police will carry out an initial assessment and, if appropriate, set up a multiagency meeting to agree actions for supporting the individual. If it is deemed that there are no concerns around radicalisation, appropriate and targeted support will be considered for the young person.

External speakers

Due to the nature of our business and the delivery methods we use, GHL would not normally engage with external speakers. However, in the unlikely event we do decide to invite someone in we would always adhere to a strict set of principles to ensure the safeguard of our learners and employees. GHL employees are briefed to ensure that external speakers are made aware of our policy prior to any guest speaking with learners and follow the guidance set out in that policy. Any speaker that may be deemed to cause reputational risk to GHL or our partners will not be permitted to speak to or interact with learners.

PREVENT happens before any criminal activity takes place. It is about recognising, supporting and protecting people who might be susceptible to radicalisation.