Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 3:14 pm ar 22 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 3:14, 22 Mai 2024

Perhaps the best way for me to start this response is by paying tribute to my right hon. Friend, who was instrumental in ensuring we got the Contest strategy through and in holding the Department to account to make sure that it not only delivered when it began but that it continued to deliver. It is a hugely important part of our protection and I will indeed be coming on to Sir William’s work. It is worth saying that Sir William is a fantastic public servant who has done brilliant work for our country in many ways, and his recent review was one of those many areas in which he has contributed. It is a great pleasure for me to be able to put on record my tribute and thanks to him for all his work.

As I have said, the Prevent duty helps ensure people who are susceptible to radicalisation are offered timely interventions before it is too late. None of this is easy because, as there is no single track to a person being radicalised, there are many factors which can, either alone or combined, lead to someone subscribing to an extremist ideology, which in some cases can lead to terrorism. These factors often include exposure to radicalising influences, real and perceived grievances, and an individual’s own susceptibility. The Prevent duty guidance exists to help those working in frontline sectors to navigate these challenging situations. The 2015 Act requires specified authorities to have regard to this guidance.

It is challenging but we must always strive for excellence. The Government are committed to ensuring that Prevent is effective. The report of the independent review of Prevent—the IRP—was published on 8 February 2023 and set out Sir William Shawcross’s 34 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the Government in response. Last year, we implemented the Prevent duty guidance for England and Wales, responding to several of Sir William’s recommendations. The updated guidance for Scotland, which is the subject of this statutory instrument, was issued on 7 May, and it will ensure that Scotland too can benefit from updated guidance and best practice. The Home Office worked quickly with the Scottish Government to ensure that the updated Prevent duty guidance for Scotland is closely tailored to the Scottish context.

It is worth saying that all parts of the United Kingdom face slightly different challenges on Prevent, because different political views and ideologies affect different communities in all parts of the United Kingdom, and that is as true of Scotland as it is of anywhere else. The guidance has updated Prevent’s objectives to make it clear that Prevent should tackle the ideological causes of terrorism. It sets out requirements more clearly, articulating the need for high-quality training so that risk can be identified and managed. It provides an updated threat picture, and gives details of the strategic security threat check, which helps Prevent recognise and respond to the greatest threats. This will ensure that Prevent is well-equipped to counter the threats we face and the ideologies underpinning them.

As well as responding to the independent review of Prevent’s recommendations, the guidance reflects current best practice. It supports and exemplifies the excellent work that we know takes place across the country to keep us safe and help prevent people from becoming terrorists or from supporting terrorism. The guidance will assist specified authorities in Scotland to understand how best to comply with the duty. It includes details of the capabilities they should have to be able to identify and manage risk. It also advises on how they can help create an environment where the ideologies that are used to radicalise people into terrorism are challenged, not permitted to flourish.

People with responsibilities relevant to the delivery of Prevent were consulted on the guidance. A range of key Scottish governmental partners were engaged throughout the development of the updated guidance, and their feedback has been positive. The Government have been working closely with these partners to roll out the guidance and support its implementation. Subject to the approval of this House, this statutory instrument will bring the new guidance into effect on 19 August, replacing the 2015 guidance. It will strengthen the Prevent system and help to keep us all safe, which is why I commend it to the House.