In this report, released on the 10th anniversary of the July 2005 London bombings (7/7), CAGE presents real life cases of organisations and individuals that have been targeted under PREVENT.
PREVENT was created in the aftermath of 7/7 and has been revised a number of times since its inception, firstly in 2011 and again in 2013. The current manifestation of PREVENT has been adopted under a statutory basis under the newly passed Counter-Terrorism and Security Act .
CAGE deems the tenth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings as a time for reflection, to learn from the mistakes of the past. CAGE calls for a comprehensive change to counter-terrorism policy in the UK.
- Discussion, debate and ideas which are alternative to acceptable societal norms need to be had in public spaces.
- This will ensure those individuals with non-mainstream ideas and views can face organic and legitimate challenge/scrutiny by those organisations and individuals who have the appropriate knowledge and ability to do so.
- CAGE believes it is uniquely placed to do this and therefore strongly urges police and security authorities to refrain from attempting to disrupt its entirely democratic and lawful activities.
- Terrorism and political violence is accepted as being a form of political action that is used largely in those societies that are closed, restrictive and repressive.
- In such societies, individuals feel their attempts to bring about a desirable change through the existing political system will be most likely met by fierce, coercive and forceful action by the authorities.
- CAGE therefore believes that it is critical for the UK to refrain from closing down and repressing the exchange of ideas and views in public spaces. If not, there is an increased chance that individuals will attend hidden venues – online and offline – to seek answers to their questions and find support for their views.
- CAGE is concerned with the lack of transparency surrounding PREVENT as well as the strategy’s unaccountability. There are no formal processes for challenging assumptions of the PREVENT programme, and there is no formal way of redressing highly discriminatory and unfair practices of PREVENT officers.
- It is the very foundational conceptions of ‘radicalisation’ and ‘deradicalisation’ that must be rethought if threat levels are ever to be reduced in the UK.
- By continuing on the current path of PREVENT, with its workings not open to public scrutiny, we risk failing the very communities we wish to reach.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)