The ‘Prevent’ priority is one part of the wider CONTEST strategy
which is designed to reduce the risk to the UK from terrorism. Another element of the national strategy is counter-terrorism which is largely led by the police but supported by partners. The third element is counter extremism. Portsmouth’s counter-extremism strategy was approved by the SPP in October 2017. As a priority area, Portsmouth receives Home Office funding to employ three staff (co-ordinator, education officer, and community engagement officer) who deliver a range of activity across all three areas although this will cease at the end of 2018/19 in line with the government’s revised threat assessment of Portsmouth.
During 2017 the Home Office led a ‘peer review’ in the city covering all aspects of delivery. The findings identified many areas of excellent practice as well as areas for improvement such as improving the SPP’s governance and senior leadership arrangements. The local prevent board is now tasked with delivering against an agreed action plan. The council’s Director of Children’s Services and senior managers from Adult Social Care have now taken more prominent leadership roles. Staff have also established a panel that considers individual cases where there is concern about radicalisation and provides appropriate referral pathways and interventions. Many of these cases involve
adults with mental health problems so strong links have also been established with Portsmouth’s Safeguarding Adults Board. We have also reduced duplication and strengthened community cohesion arrangements to include counter extremism and links to hate crime. We are developing more proactive communications plans between partners.