Terrorism: What is Prevent?

Prevent is one of the four elements of Contest, the Government’s Counter Terrorism strategy. 

The other three Contest elements are: 

  • Pursue - to stop terrorist attacks
  • Protect - to strengthen our protection against terrorist attacks   
  • Prepare - when an attack occurs, to mitigate its impact. 

Prevent aims to prevent people from becoming terrorists and/or supporting terrorist activities and to challenge extremist ideologies.

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What should I do if I think someone I know might be thinking about travelling to Syria?
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If you are concerned about someone travelling to, or returning from Syria or another conflict zone then to access the relevant support and advice contact your local police on 101 and ask for your Prevent team.

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What should I do if I am concerned that someone is becoming radicalised?
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If you’re concerned about someone in your community please contact your local police force by dialing 101 and ask for the Prevent team, or if you require urgent police assistance dial 999

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What can I do?
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You can report suspicious activity by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321. If you encounter material on the internet which you think may be illegal, offensive or linked to extremist behaviour, you can report it online: www.gov.uk/report-terrorism

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Who is vulnerable to radicalisation?
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There is no one profile for someone who could be drawn into terrorism, but please take note of the following vulnerabilities and signs:


  • Significant life event
  • A desire for political or moral change
  • Feelings of grievance and injustice
  • A desire for excitement and adventure
  • A desire for status
  • A need for identity, meaning and belonging
  • Feeling under threat
  • Mental health issues.


  • Change of appearance
  • Depressed
  • New friendships
  • Fixated on a subject
  • New found arrogance
  • Withdrawn
  • Limited or repetitive vocabulary
  • Use of discriminatory language.
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What is Channel and how does it work?
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Channel works by partners jointly assessing the nature and the extent of the risk and where necessary, providing an appropriate support package tailored to the individual’s needs. 

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How does Prevent work?
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How does Prevent work?

  • By engaging with the community, education, faith establishments, medical and mental health care, criminal justice, partner agencies and our colleagues in the police.
  • This enables us to identify those who are most vulnerable to radicalisation and intervene before they commit any offences. 
  • Prevent works in the non-criminal space. It is about supporting and protecting those people that might be vulnerable to radicalisation, ensuring that individuals are diverted away before any crime is committed.