THE government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent strategy is “a toxic brand”, a former Muslim police chief has said.
Dal Babu, who retired as a chief superintendent with the Metropolitan Police in 2013, said most Muslims did not trust the scheme and many saw it as a form of spying.
Prevent, aimed at stopping people becoming terrorists, has come under the spotlight in recent years after hundreds of Britons are believed to travelled to Syria to join Islamic State (IS), including three London schoolgirls who fled the UK last month.
Babu,a former chairman of the Association of Muslim Officers within the Met, told the BBC: ” Sadly, Prevent has become a toxic brand and most Muslims are suspicious of what Prevent is doing. “This is unfortunate but a reality and the Government needs to develop a co-ordinated strategy to safeguard vulnerable children who are being groomed by IS.
“Many Muslims see Prevent as spying and those Muslim organisations who have taken Prevent funding have a considerable credibility gap within the Muslim community.”
Babu added there was a “lack of knowledge” around race and faith issues which was “amplified considerably with the more junior officers who perform the role of implementing the Prevent strategy”.
Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and a vice president with the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), defended Prevent on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme saying that parents must take responsibility for ensuring their children do not become radicalised.
“The prime responsibility for stopping young people from going to Syria, and thinking about that and being attracted by Isis, has to lie with parents,” he said.
“If there is one thing possibly we have made a mistake in Prevent, it is we have created the impression that somehow that is the job of the police.”
He said it was difficult to measure the success of programme aimed at preventing terrorism but “the success rate here is that no bombs have gone off”.