Prevent is one strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy ‘contest’, which concerns itself with preventing the ‘radicalisation’ of individuals towards ‘extremism’.
Prevent has long been criticised as fundamentally racist and Islamophobic, targeting the Muslim community whilst eroding civil liberties for all as part of a clampdown on political dissent and undermining the space for critical discussion in our universities, colleges and schools.
In February 2015, the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 put Prevent on a statutory basis for the first time, imposing an obligation on public bodies (including universities, colleges, nurseries, prisons and the NHS) to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” through the strategy, known as the Prevent duty.
NUS opposes Prevent and works to support those affected by Prevent while campaigning towards getting the Prevent duty repealed.
An increasing number of unions and organisations have also been calling for the repeal and/or overhauling of Prevent including the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), Students Not Suspects and a wide range of civil liberties and Muslim organisations.