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Deradicalisation Training: The number of suspected radicals doubles!

In just 3 months; between June and August, 796 people were identified and reported to “Channel” , the government’s de-radicalisation scheme at an average rate of 8 people a day. According to figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council, more than a third of the total, 312, were aged under 18. The total figure is more than double the amount of suspected radicals who were reported to “Channel” in the first three months of 2014-15 and more than the total amount of referrals than for the whole of 2012-13 – the first year the scheme was in place.

The programme is “about ensuring that vulnerable children and adults of any faith, ethnicity or background receive support before their vulnerabilities are exploited by those that would want them to embrace terrorism” according to the government. Of those that were referred to the scheme, all were assessed with around 20% requiring deradicalisation sessions.

John Hayes, the governments security minister believes that ‘as a country, we have a duty to challenge, at every turn, the twisted narrative that has corrupted some of our vulnerable young people with particular responsibility lying with Schools, Universities and Local councils.

This is reflected in the new duty that UK universities have to stop extremism which came into place on the 21st September 2015. The plans are part of a government drive to make academic institutions responsible for protecting “impressionable young minds” from the lure of extremism. This guidance also requires universities to ensure that they have suitable information technology policies, staff training and student welfare programmes in place to recognise and respond to the signs of radicalisation. As well as this, the National Union of Students (NUS) is being urged by ministers to support the government’s counter-radicalisation programme, Prevent.

David Cameron stated that “All public institutions have a role to play in rooting out and challenging extremism” declaring that it’s not about oppressing free speech or stifling academic freedom: it is about making sure that radical views and ideas are not given the oxygen they need to flourish.”

The new measures require universities to assess speakers thoroughly and make sure that those adopting extremist views are disputed by an alternative argument put forward at the same event.

Additionally, higher education bodies will need to educate staff to identify and support students at risk of radicalisation. Any institutions shown to be resisting such measures will ultimately be obligated to comply by a court order.

David Cameron believes that “Schools, universities and colleges, more than anywhere else, have a duty to protect impressionable young minds and ensure that our young people are given every opportunity to reach their potential.” This is more important than ever with concerns over the radicalisation of students at school and university growing with increasing numbers of youngsters from Britain travelling to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. For example, there are widespread views that suggest that Mohammed Emwazi — the suspected Jihadist known as “Jihadi John” — may have been radicalised while studying in London.

Are you well equipped to help? Find out more about our Identifying and Combatting Radicalisation training by contacting me at r.woolner@salford.ac.uk or by calling me on 0161 295 3385

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