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Alarm as leak reveals Prevent ‘carrying the weight’ for mental health services | Prevent strategy

Mental health campaigners have sounded alarm over a leaked Home Office report into the anti-extremism programme Prevent, which suggests these with out extremist views are being referred to the programme to entry quicker mental health services.

Draft extracts of the leaked report by William Shawcross, seen by the Guardian, warn of a “serious misallocation of resources” and that the programme is being misused due to the pressure on mental health provision.

“In my assessment, Prevent is carrying the weight for mental health services,” the report says. “Vulnerable people who do not necessarily pose a terrorism risk are being referred to Prevent in order to access other types of much-needed support. This is a serious misallocation of resources and risks diverting attention from the threat itself.”

James Starkie, a former Home Office adviser who based the No Time To Wait marketing campaign to hurry up entry to mental health assist, mentioned the Home Office should examine the referrals.

“If people are being referred to the Prevent programme simply to gain mental health support then it needs to stop immediately. These claims in the leaked report should be investigated by government,” he mentioned.

“It cannot be right that people suffering with mental health issues are being labelled extremist simply to access the help they need. I created the No Time to Wait campaign to ensure people didn’t have to wait for the help they needed. This only shows how important that is.”

Quite a few neighborhood and anti-fascist teams expressed additional alarm at the leaked findings, which additionally urged there had been too slender a give attention to Islamist extremism and too broad on rightwing terror.

Shawcross has beforehand been criticised for feedback he made about Muslims as director of the Henry Jackson society, the place he mentioned in 2012 that: “Europe and Islam is one of the greatest, most terrifying problems of our future.”

A former Home Office counter-extremism official, who requested to stay nameless, mentioned the authorities would use the variety of terror assaults to justify an elevated give attention to Muslims.

“It’s very shortsighted and suits Shawcross’s agenda,” they mentioned. “The government has been reluctant to look at the definition of ‘Islamist’ itself, which feeds wider anti-Muslim sentiment.” They added that the authorities had nonetheless not responded to Sara Khan’s flagship review into counter-extremism.

Nick Lowles, the chief government of Hope Not Hate, the UK’s main antifascism and antiracism marketing campaign group, mentioned the leaked draft was “very worrying” and raised questioned about how totally different types of extremism might be pitted towards one another.

“For far too long, far-right radicalisation has been an issue that has not gotten the attention it deserves, and at a time when growing numbers of young people are being attracted to far-right politics and dangerous conspiracy theories, we cannot become complacent about the threat far-right radicalisation poses,” he mentioned.

“Prevent, and indeed the wider police approach to violent extremism, should be based on threat and the potential for violence, not pitting one form of extremism against another.”

Zara Mohammed, the secretary common of the Muslim Council of Britain, which has repeatedly raised issues about Prevent and the position of Shawcross main the review, mentioned: “Prevent has alienated Muslims and is now being politicised by divisive ideologues keen to frame Muslims as a phantom fifth column. As such, we are not surprised with suggestions that far-right extremism be de-prioritised.

“It comes in a week where a terrorist in the United States has gunned down African Americans using far-right ideas such as the ‘Great Replacement theory’ and Islamophobic tropes. These ideas have sadly been mainstreamed.”

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