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UK deradicalisation program a massive fail

By Russell Grenning - posted Thursday, 21 June 2018

A UK Government strategy called Prevent which was established to try and stop the radicalisation of potential terrorists has been revealed as woefully and spectacularly hopeless with more than ninety-five per cent of its associated programs being exposed as ineffective.

According to The Times (UK), the study "revealed failures in the approach to deradicalisation in schools, youth centres, sports clubs and English-language classes."

The Timescontinued, "The study found that only two programs were effective and that some projects were counter-productive."


The study was undertaken by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) which is partly owned by the government's own Cabinet Office and, again according to The Times, "until the BIT study, the thirty-three projects claimed a success rate of more than 90 per cent because they evaluated themselves." That is hardly a surprising outcome given the usual complete lack of any intellectual rigour, honesty or integrity in self-assessment by civil/public servants.

Inevitably, the civil/public servants charged with running this sham Prevent strategy enlisted their Minister to come out publicly in their defence and probably wrote his media statement. The Home Secretary Sajid Javid loyally said that while he recognised criticisms of the program, nevertheless "misapprehensions around Prevent are often based on distortions" and, to put the matter to bed, "I absolutely support it."

That hardly dampened down the criticism of what the government had been touting as an innovative, evidence-based, comprehensive, effective and sophisticated strategy. No doubt the government has some other glowing adjectives to describe it but I'm sure you get the drift.

To quote again randomly from The Times, "Researchers concluded that one intervention program in schools was ineffective because it used a prescriptive curriculum that adopted the same approach whether addressing a predominantly Muslim or white audience" and "the study concluded that facilitators were uncomfortable dealing with sensitive topics and would often refuse to engage if they were brought up."

"Teachers in particular were afraid to bring up matters of race and religion with their students without appearing discriminatory, often causing them to refuse to talk." In fact, the BIT study discovered that some teachers were too afraid to even mention matters of race, religion and radical Islam with students and sought to avoid politically correct accusations of discrimination which meant that key topics were sidestepped completely.

Other programs placed too much emphasis on hurt feelings, offence and so-called Islamophobia which had the counterproductive result of convincing many Muslim participants to view themselves as victims.


One BIT researcher was quoted as saying, "There were ideas that sounded good, and a couple of them worked. However, they tended to work by chance - there was no grounding in psychological research that could potentially lead to impactful projects."

In plain English that means those charged with running the Prevent strategy which is supposed to be defusing potential problems that could lead to dangerous radicalisation were just groping blindly in the dark with their fingers crossed.

Another Minister, the Security and Economic Crime Minister Ben Wallace who is the junior Home Office Minister directly responsible for Prevent did as much as he could to defend his cause and was quoted as saying, "I am interested in the results of the BIT evaluation but they do not show the full picture." And in an effort to put a positive spin on the whole shaming matter, the Minister brightly added, "Their findings will help improve future interventions."

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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