PREVENT is one of the four elements from the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy, Contest. PREVENT aims to challenge extremist ideologies and prevent people from becoming terrorists and/or supporting terrorist activities.

The three other elements of Contest are; Pursue (to stop terrorist attacks), Protect (to strengthen our protection against terrorist attacks) and Prepare (when an attack occurs, to mitigate its impact).

The PREVENT strategy challenges extremism by:

  • Supporting people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist or extremist activity.

  • Working with and supporting community groups and social enterprise projects that provide support to vulnerable people.

  • Working with faith groups and institutions to assist them in providing support and guidance to people who may be vulnerable.

  • Supporting local schools, local industry and partner agencies through engagement, advice and training.

This enables us to identify those who are most vulnerable to radicalisation and intervene before they commit any offences. PREVENT works in the non-criminal space and is about supporting and protecting those who may be vulnerable to radicalisation.

PREVENT are currently working closely with partner agencies in WRAP training, following the creation of the Crime and Security Act 2015.

How to spot the signs

Individuals can be drawn towards the process of radicalisation in a number of ways. There are certain vulnerabilities or susceptibilities that mean, because of a person’s circumstances, experiences or state of mind, they can be drawn towards terrorist ideology.

Below are some signs which can help to spot the signs of a person at risk of being drawn to terrorism. Though you should remember that the list is not exhaustive and all or none may be present in individual cases of concern.

Do you recognise someone who:

  • Is at a transitional time of their life; this could be anything from moving to a new area or country, or ending a relationship

  • Has a need for identity, meaning and belonging; they may have encountered peer, social or family rejection/isolation

  • Has social network involvement in extremism

  • Is being influenced or controlled by a group

  • Has feelings of grievance and injustice; people can often find themselves in situations they perceive as ‘unfair’

  • Has a desire for status; some individuals may desire greater power and increased standing within their communities due to a lack of identity

  • Has relevant mental health issues; such as PTSD, anxiety, depression or personality problems

  • Has a desire for excitement and adventure

  • Has a need to dominate and control others; some individuals may have a natural tendency to want to dominate or rule over others

  • Has a desire for political or moral change

If you are concerned about someone in your community, please contact your local police force by dialling 101 and ask for the PREVENT team. Or if you require urgent assistance, dial 999. You can also visit the Let’s Talk About It website for more information.

To learn more about PREVENT you can complete the Home Office's e-learning training package.

Useful links

Let’s Talk About It

Hertfordshire Constabulary

Prevent Tragedies