OVER 15,000 staff across the Bradford district have been provided with training on the government’s 'Prevent' strategy - set up to draw people away from extremist behaviour.
Started in 2011, the strategy is used by Councils, police, universities and colleges, and other public bodies to try and stop people from being radicalised.
The government strategy has proven to be controversial, with many groups claiming it discriminates against Muslim communities.
However, a new report into how Prevent is implemented in Bradford reveals that the strategy has increased its focus on the dangers of right wing extremism since the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox last summer.
Mrs Cox was killed by far right extremist Thomas Mair on the streets of Birstall in June.
Bradford Council’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee will discuss the report, looking at Prevent and how it is implemented in Bradford, at a meeting on Wednesday. The report points to the huge number of staff that have been trained in the issue. It says: “To help increase confidence in staff to recognise and respond to concerns around extremism, training is available to staff through the ‘Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent’ (WRAP).
“Using actual UK case studies of extreme right-wing and Daesh extremism, the course explores factors which may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to a terrorist ideology. To date, nearly 15,000 staff in the district have received WRAP training.”
Groups that have seen staff receive training include Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police, the University of Bradford and Bradford College, the Probation Service, local schools and local health bodies such as Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust.
The report says local Prevent-inspired projects include educating people about online extremism, such as conspiracy theories or “unregulated propaganda,” providing extra training to staff in madrassas and supplemental schools and mentoring projects for vulnerable young people.
The report adds: “Prevent has always had a focus on far right extremism, but this has increased, particularly since the murder of a sitting MP by a far right extremist in June 2016.”
But the report acknowledges that the “main threat” Prevent aims to tackle is Islamic terrorism inspired by Daesh/ISIS.
It adds: “Despite the increased emphasis on far right extremism, the Government believes the main threat to UK is through terrorism inspired by Daesh or groups with a similar ideology. Threat conditions can change very quickly, but the context which shapes Prevent delivery is focused where risk actually exists."
The committee will meet at City Hall at 5.30pm on Wednesday.