As schools remain closed and many work from home to reduce the spread of Covid-19, a series of animations are being released to explain Prevent and its work in safeguarding the vulnerable against the risk of radicalisation.

The myth-busting clips aim to bring better understanding around Prevent, by clarifying what it is not.

Produced by the multi-agency Prevent team in Lincolnshire, which includes the police and local authority, the animations cover five common misconceptions around faith, spying, criminalisation, ideology and the policing of views.

The first clip is being released today (Monday 27 April 2020), with a new one shared every week until all five have been circulated.

Chief Inspector Bill Knopp, Regional Prevent Coordinator within Counter Terrorism Policing in the East Midlands (CTP EM), said: “As we all self-isolate and socially distance during the pandemic, we are turning to social media platforms more than ever to stay in touch, share thoughts and ideas, and connect with people. It is, therefore, a crucial time to remind everyone of the unscrupulous few who misuse the internet to negatively influence and spread extreme ideas.

“Through Prevent, we work together with our partners to undertake early intervention and the safeguarding of those – spanning all demographics, ideologies and faiths – who show vulnerability to being drawn into or supporting terrorism.

“Our intention is to divert people from a path that may involve them causing harm to others and being criminalised. Prevent focusses on bringing about positive outcomes that enable people to thrive and continue to live peacefully in society.

“Somewhere along the way I worry that the aim of Prevent has, for some people, become distorted. We hope these clips — which are only seconds long — address some of the misconceptions and, in turn, encourage anyone with concerns to pick up the phone.”

Di Coulson, Prevent Lead Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We work very closely with the police, other partner agencies and communities in order to safeguard individuals from being drawn towards or supporting terrorism.

“As local authorities we want to ensure that our communities understand Prevent and that any myths or misconceptions are tackled head on.

“We welcome this latest set of short Prevent communications and hope that members of the public take a few seconds out of their time to view and recognise the realities of what Prevent is about.”

Prevent was launched in 2006 as part of the government’s strategy to counter the threat posed by terrorists by helping to build stronger and safer neighbourhoods.

It helps to tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism; safeguard and support those most at risk of grooming, through early intervention and the offer of support.

Prevent also enables those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

For a short clip explaining the multi-agency intervention process, Channel, click here.

A recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) praised the work of police in protecting vulnerable people against radicalisation. You can read the full document here.

If you are concerned that someone you know is potentially at risk of radicalisation, tell someone – and help them take a different path. For help and advice about the risks of radicalisation and to refer your concerns, click here.