Met commissioner highlights prevention as key element to combat terrorism

The chief of the Met Police has today emphasised the importance of the Home Office’s anti-radicalisation ‘Prevent’ strategy, arguing that "we can't arrest our way out of this problem. We do have to do a lot around prevention. Radicalisation is not an event, it's a process.”

By Samera Owusu Tutu

21 Oct 2014

Delivering the keynote speech at Westminster Briefing’s National Security Summit, Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “Through the Prevent agenda, we are intervening and helping those vulnerable to radicalisation."

The commissioner also highlighted the high terrorism conviction rates achieved with the Crown Prosecution Service, pointing out that around 60% of those arrested for terrorism are charged — mainly with terrorist offenses — and there has been a strong conviction rate.

“In recent years, in close partnership with CPS, we have achieved a conviction rate of approximately 75% for those charged with terror offenses,” said Hogan-Howe. “I think it speaks volumes for the strength of the case the security service, the police and CPS put together, the fact that we get such high conviction rates.”

Prevent is one of the four elements of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. With collaboration between Home Office, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, Minister for Security, it aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorists.

As well as providing practical help to those at risk of radicalisation, it funds a specialist police unit — the counter terrorism internet referral unit — which works to remove online content that breaches terrorist legislation.

The counter terrorism internet referral unit are removing over 1000 pieces of illegal content from the internet each week, the commissioner said, including videos of beheadings and other brutality. Hogan-Howe added: "Over 80% of the material removed is Iraq- and Syria-related."


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