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Counter Terrorism Policing – New insight into the world of Prevent

Last modified: 22 October 2020 at 06:01pm

PC Nathan Clifton is the newest member of North Yorkshire Police’s Prevent Team. Here, in the second of a series of blogs, he talks about his steep learning curve in the world of Counter Terrorism Policing and explains how the Channel process works…

I have been doing this role for three months now and I’m still getting used to the pace of things.

Coming from a response team in the Metropolitan Police to a response team in North Yorkshire, and then across here to Prevent, I’m still trying to adjust to having time to look at the detail as opposed to trying to get everything done as quickly as humanly possible!

I’ve been on numerous courses introducing me to the CT Network and the software that we use.

It has been information overload, but it is all sinking in and all the pieces are coming together nicely.

Just when you think you’re getting to grip with all the acronyms, someone from somewhere throws another one in! PCM and CMIS? No problem. CTELO?!

I’m quietly confident, even in this early stage, that I’m never going to know them all and it is something I have come to accept.

Alongside all of that, the referrals have been coming in from all over the county and it is certainly keeping me busy.

More often than not, it has come from a professional in some capacity such as a pastoral worker in a school, a social worker or a health professional. We apply our assessment process to the referral and then it is decided whether or not it is suitable to be considered for the Channel process.

Channel is completely voluntary and it is there to support individuals who are deemed vulnerable to being drawn toward extremist ideology.

The panel consists of a multitude of partner agencies such as the NHS, education and social services, and meet once a month to determine which of those referred would benefit most from the support it can offer.

This can include supportive measures such as mental health assessments, educational needs, housing assessments or trying to introduce a counter-narrative to someone who, for example, may hold extreme right-wing views.

This can be done through a Home Office-approved intervention provider. These are scattered throughout the country and do fantastic work with the people that are referred into us.

Here at North Yorkshire Police, we have recently had National Hate Crime Awareness Week where we were lucky enough to have Dr Gareth Harris attend (virtually) and deliver some really interesting and pertinent presentations on anti-minority narratives and the local dynamic of anti-minority protests.

Dr Harris is the convenor of the Special Interest Group on Counter-Extremism (SIGCE), a local authority peer-to-peer network led by Leeds and Luton councils, and we are certainly looking forward to what he has in store for us next.

I’ve also managed to get together the internal website for our force Prevent Champions, where we can now communicate more effectively.

A Prevent Champion is someone working for the police or one of our partner agencies who will receive enhanced Prevent awareness training, alongside training around key threats and vulnerabilities from terrorism and extremism within the North Yorkshire Police force area.

As you can imagine, these play a vital role on the frontline and I’m really looking forward to working with them more directly.

Oh, CTELO? Counter Terrorism and Extremism Liaison Officer.


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