Yesterday, the Lords debated the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill. The government missed their legal deadline for carrying out a review of Prevent, their scheme for dealing with extremism. Jenny has repeatedly called for Prevent to be replaced by a more neutral approach to safeguarding the vulnerable. Lots of good work is done by professionals, especially on dealing with those drawn into far right violence, but some police officers have tried to expand the scope of Prevent to include many campaigners involved in non-violent protests. For example, Jenny drew Parliament’s attention to the symbol of the Hunt Saboteurs Association being put alongside that of violent groups and terrorists, while they worked closely with police to enforce the law on hunting. Prevent has also been criticised for targeting the Muslim community, rather than working with it.
The government never wanted a review and are now trying to remove the legal obligation to have one, while replacing it with a Boris Johnson style promise to review by next August. As with other voluntary obligations based upon the promises of Conservative Ministers, I really don’t trust them.