27 December 2016

Sixty kids a week referred to anti-extremism body Prevent

More than 20 people a day were referred to the Government's controversial anti-extremism Prevent programme according to latest figures - nearly half of them children.

The figures covering the year to the end of March 2016 showed about 7,500 people were referred to the scheme, with 54% of these relating to Islamic extremism.

They showed 610 of these, or 8%, were under 10, while 3,100 were under 18.

Simon Cole, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for Prevent, defended the scheme against what he called "hysterical" criticism.

He said it was "absolutely fundamental" to Britain's counter-terrorism efforts - and not "a sort of spying operation".

Prevent has been described as heavy-handed and "toxic" by critics amid particular concerns about its application in schools, where teachers are now obliged to report suspected extremist behaviour. [Sky News] Read more