Rise in reports of people flagged up to authorities over right-wing extremism

PUBLISHED: 16:30 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:30 19 December 2019

Home secretary Priti Patel during a visit to Kent Police College in Maidstone. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Home secretary Priti Patel during a visit to Kent Police College in Maidstone. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

PA Wire/PA Images

The number of people flagged up to authorities for concerns over right-wing extremism has almost doubled in the last three years, while referrals over Islamist radicalisation plummeted, figures show.

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There were 5,738 referrals overall to the government's prevent programme between April 2018 and March 2019.

Of these, 1,389 referrals were for concerns over right-wing extremism - a 6% rise from 1,312 in the previous period and almost double the 759 flagged up in 2015/16.

Islamist concerns accounted for a larger proportion of referrals but the number dropped 56% from 3,197 to 1,404, according to the Home Office figures.

A further 2,169 people had a "mixed, unstable or unclear ideology" while 776 were referred over other concerns like international and left-wing radicalisation.

With an annual budget of around £40 million, Prevent aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

It was launched after public bodies were placed under a statutory duty in 2015 to stop people being drawn into terrorism.

Anyone concerned that someone they know might be at risk can refer them.

When authorities decide there is a risk that the person referred to Prevent could be drawn into terrorism, they are then assessed as part of a scheme known as Channel and potentially taken on as a case. Engagement with the scheme is voluntary and it is not a criminal sanction.

Of the cases examined, 561 were taken on as a case and supported through the scheme - 254 (45%) of which were over right-wing radicalisation concerns. This is a 50% rise on the previous year.

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