LONDON: The UK’s greatest chance of reducing terrorist violence risks being undermined amid a backlash to the official the government has chosen to lead a review of counter-terrorism strategy Prevent, the country’s top counter-terrorism officer told The Guardian newspaper.
The aim of Prevent is to reduce the threat to the UK from terrorism by stopping people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
The appointment of William Shawcross by Home Secretary Priti Patel to lead the review has been met with criticism due to alleged Islamophobic comments he has made in the past.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu’s comments to The Guardian come after key Muslim and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, announced a boycott of the official review of Prevent.
Basu said the participation of critics in the official review is vital, and “only when all sides of the discussion are heard can this review achieve what it sets out to achieve.”
He added that Prevent is the most important part of the fight against violent extremism from both Islamists and the far right.
“I have always believed and stated publicly that Prevent is the most important pillar of our counter-terrorism strategy, and counter-terrorism police have long been advocates of an independent review,” he said.
“We will, of course, work with the government’s chosen reviewer, because we believe the process will give our Prevent practitioners the opportunity to share their many years of expertise and insight, with the hope of bringing lasting improvement to this vital strategy,” he added.
“But we also recognize how important the support and trust of our communities will be if we are to continue to protect vulnerable people, and so it is with great disappointment that I read some key groups plan to boycott the review altogether. I would urge them to reconsider, because only when all sides of the discussion are heard can this review achieve what it sets out to achieve.”
In 2019, Basu said Prevent had been the least successful part of the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, and had at times been “badly handled.”
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Source: arab news
UK’s top counter-terror officer backs key strategy amid review row