Anti-terrorism programme could be made ‘compulsory’
Nearly half of people assessed to be susceptible to Daesh terrorism refused the offer of help from the Government’s flagship counter-extremism programme, latest figures have shown this week.
‘The Channel’ programme offers support and mentoring to those believed to be vulnerable to being lured into extremism, but it is voluntary and those offered help can turn it down.
Figures have now emerged from a Freedom of Information Act request, relating to a Home Office database, which state that during the last financial year, out of the 245 people offered support, some 117 refused it, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar, where a number of schools were targeted by hard-line Muslims in the Trojan Horse scandal, called for the Channel programme to be made ‘compulsory’.
He said: “The whole strategy needs to be looked at.”
Khalid then went on to say that some mentors are ‘non-violent radicalisers’ who ‘reinforce the ideology’ rather than countering it.
“Also what needs to be looked at is the fact that the number of Channel providers is very stagnant, there are hardly any changes in providers that the local police authorities use,” he continued.
He added: “I think it should become mandatory…but unless you have the right providers, unless you have people who are actually not going to reinforce that ideology, people who are actually trying to move people away from that ideology and the ethos of what they are being taught – that is the only way you will move forward and try to de-radicalise some of these people.
“And we are not doing that at the moment in Channel.”
He also called for more resources to be ploughed into the programme.
Channel aims to combat extremism early on to prevent people from becoming further radicalised and turning to violence.
Many people referred to the programme are children.