Cumbria Police are sharing counter terrorism PREVENT information with the public to raise awareness of the signs of potential radicalisation.
This is part of week four of Operation MOVIE, Cumbria Constabulary’s Month of Initiatives and Education. The operation is shining a spotlight on the unseen police work the force carry out every day to protect vulnerable members of the public.
PREVENT is one of the four elements of CONTEST, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is about safeguarding and supporting those vulnerable to radicalisation.
Whilst terrorism remains rare in Cumbria, there are concerns identified around vulnerable people at risk of radicalisation by right wing extremism.
The coronavirus pandemic has created a reduction in opportunities for the public to interact face to face with educational providers and agencies, therefore PREVENT referrals may have been impacted.
Police are sharing the signs of radicalisation with the public to help raise awareness and encourage referrals for anyone in need of PREVENT support.
Signs to watch out for include a person:
- Feeling under threat.
- Becoming secretive or withdrawn from interacting with friends and family.
- Having feelings of grievance and injustice.
- Being at a transitional time in life
- Being controlled by a group or person.
- Involved in extremism online.
- Experiencing mental health issues.
- Having a desire for status or excitement and adventure.
- Having a need to dominate or control others.
Superintendent Matt Kennerly, PREVENT Lead at Cumbria Constabulary, said: “Whilst people may think that terrorism would not occur in a place like Cumbria, we do have vulnerable people needing support to keep them away from radicalisation.
“This is not about criminalising vulnerable people, much the opposite, PREVENT looks to help vulnerable individuals before they become radicalised.
“Terrorism is an act of violence grounded in extremist views. Perpetrators of hate crime can, if there is no intervention, evolve to terrorism. That is why we continue to issue information about reporting hate crime and raise awareness surrounding the signs of radicalisation in friends and family.
“We continue to work hard with PREVENT and Counter Terrorism North West. We have two dedicated PREVENT police officers within our police force and we work closely with partners and other constabularies to keep our communities safe.
“It is important to continue to raise awareness of the signs of potential radicalisation so that the public can help us support vulnerable people before criminal acts occur.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “It would be easy to think that radicalisation of young people and terrorism are not issues we face in Cumbria but sadly we do have some and we cannot be complacent.
“The PREVENT programme is about ensuring that we divert young people in particular, before they are drawn into this dangerous crime.
“So much crime happens behind closed doors, often online, but we can all help by watching out for the signs of crime including those extremists who target and radicalise our most vulnerable.
“PREVENT is a great source for our vulnerable adults and children to be protected from radicalisation.
“None of us want to see hatred and terrorism in Cumbria – if you feel that someone you know is being radicalised please report it to the Constabulary who will investigate.”
If you have concerns about someone you know or if you are looking for Prevent advice, please email Cumbria Police.