Preventing people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism

Prevent Duty

Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST which aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. The Prevent strategy addresses all forms of terrorism and prioritises according to the threat posed to national security. 

The strategy has three main objectives:

  • Objective one: Ideology - respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism
  • Objective two: Supporting vulnerable people - prevent people from being drawn into terrorism
  • Objective three: Work with key sectors and institutions - address risks.
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The Counter Terrorism and Security Act received Royal Assent in February 2015 and will be reviewed regularly.

The police undertake an annual Counter Terrorism Local Profile (CTLP) which outlines the threat and vulnerability from terrorism-related activity within a specific area. The CTLP is a restricted document and only discussed with Chief Executives. Northamptonshire is assessed as a low risk area.

Key aspects of the legislation

The new legislation increases local authority (and other specified authorities) responsibilities to prevent extremism across the three Prevent strategy objectives, especially in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children. In two tier areas, county and district councils need to agree proportionate arrangements for sharing the assessment of risk and for agreeing local action plans. The County Council is the responsible authority for the Channel Panel (with the Police).

The guidance supporting the new legislation recommends that local authorities should establish or make use of an existing local multi-agency group to agree risk and coordinate Prevent activity. The district-led Community Safety Partnerships have action plans to deliver Prevent locally. Responsible authorities need to ensure that they are compliant with the specific requirements of the duty which includes:

  • Providing appropriate training for staff (and elected members) to understand what radicalisation means, why people may be vulnerable to it, how to spot the signs and how to report a potential referral to the Channel Panel
  • Not providing a platform for extremists through allowing them to hire publicly-owned venues or enabling them to access public resources to disseminate extremist views
  • Not working with organisations who are engaged in any extremist activity or espouse extremist views
  • Maintaining appropriate records to show compliance with responsibilities and provide reports when requested
  • Having effective information sharing procedures in place that are proportionate and comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Responsible authorities are local authorities, schools, further and higher education, the health sector, prison, probation and the police.

Channel Panel – safeguarding those vulnerable to extremism

The Channel Panel is a key part of work to prevent extremism through supporting those who may be vulnerable to radicalisation by assessing the nature and extent of the potential risk and, where necessary, providing an appropriate support package tailored to an individual’s needs. Channel is about safeguarding individuals at risk and it is voluntary. It is about early intervention to protect and divert people away from extremism and radicalisation.

Channel provides a multi-agency approach to protect people at risk of being drawn into extremism. Channel uses existing collaboration between the County Council (adults and children’s services, youth offending service), district council (community safety partnership), police, health sectors (NHS and Clinical Commissioning Group) and probation services to:

  • Identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism
  • Assess the nature and extent of that risk
  • Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.


As Northamptonshire is a low risk area, there is no regular standing Channel Panel. Once a referral has been made the panel meets every six weeks to provide early intervention to protect and divert the individual(s) away from extremism.

Through its Chair the panel regularly reports to the Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council and to the relevant Commander in Northamptonshire Police on Channel referrals.

Making a referral to Channel

Northamptonshire County Council has embedded Prevent into its safeguarding procedures. All contacts made with concerns in relation to Prevent will be assessed through the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Any professional or member of the public highlighting a concern in Northamptonshire should call MASH on 0300 126 1000 where the concern will be assessed by multi-agency staff. Northamptonshire Police’s Prevent engagement officers will work closely with the MASH and support all referrals into the council. Referrals to Channel are voluntary.

What to do if you have concerns

If you have concerns that a child or young person may be vulnerable to violent extremism or radicalisation you should seek advice from the person within your organisation who has responsibility for safeguarding and follow your own agency procedures in relation to notification of safeguarding issues. If you feel that there is an immediate danger to the life of the individual or others then call 999.

If following initial discussions there are serious safeguarding concerns in relation to the young person’s vulnerability to violent extremism or radicalisation then these should be submitted on the multi-agency referral form in line with the Referrals Procedure to Children’s Social Care. Once this notification is received, the case will be passed to the multi-agency safeguarding hub for a case discussion. 

Advice and guidance can be sought from the Prevent Engagement Officers at Northamptonshire Police by emailing: or phoning 101  and using extension 343931 or 345215.  

You can also report suspected online terrorist content here