The ‘Prevent’ Strategy in Bedfordshire.‘Has the Government Prevent Strategy been implemented effectively for the Muslim communities in Bedfordshire? Do members of that community and practitioners view it as a positive or negative contribution to community cohesion, engagement and protection from vulnerability to radical extremism?

Ouston, Martyn (2013) The ‘Prevent’ Strategy in Bedfordshire.‘Has the Government Prevent Strategy been implemented effectively for the Muslim communities in Bedfordshire? Do members of that community and practitioners view it as a positive or negative contribution to community cohesion, engagement and protection from vulnerability to radical extremism? Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

Nationally, there appear to be clear arguments for and against Prevent, the government strategy to support the Muslim community in tackling violent extremism. It is a strategy that requires local partnership delivery in the same way that community cohesion policy and strategy does. However, it has been viewed as a police led agenda, which some feel has actually damaged the cohesion that existed between communities and local authority partners. The legacy is that the criminal justice, education and health service are all now participating in the strategy to varying degrees, against considerable scepticism and mistrust from the community that the strategy seeks to support. Community cohesion remains core to the local authority focus and it is closely aligned to a variety of strategies Prevent being one amongst them. National analysis has developed some useful commentary considering the strategy’s effectiveness, but locally, empirical research remains limited. An understanding of a local Muslim community view is fundamental in establishing effectiveness of policy, feelings of alienation, or acceptance of Prevent. Likewise, the views of those engaged in its delivery are vitally important. Once documented, these views may provide some useful checks and measures. They may provide parties with an additional dialogue assisting in increasing community resilience and cohesion. It is hoped that this paper may be used as a reference document for all engaged in community cohesion and Prevent and as a platform whereby local Muslim views can be used to redirect local policy where necessary The purpose of this dissertation is therefore to examine what community cohesion is in the context of national and local delivery to Muslim communities; examine what effect the former and current Prevent strategies had and are having; and with empirical evidence question what effect Prevent has had on local community cohesion for the Muslim communities of Bedford’s two towns. The paper will conclude that Prevent has been and remains a mistrusted policy. A policy, that has gone some way to increasing Muslim community engagement; but one that is also shunned and sometimes seen as misguided. It will be seen that Muslim community cohesion policies can work in conjunction with Prevent, but that Prevent remains controversial, whilst cohesion policies retain greater respect and acceptance. It will also show that in general the Prevent strategy has positively guided police and partnership work and that it has taken on a new momentum in the form of ‘safeguarding’, with the revised strategy becoming far more community owned. It also shows that there is little evidence to show that Prevent itself has damaged local community cohesion. Other political influences have, however, caused considerable damage in Bedfordshire. It is seen that through Prevent, a mechanism exists to monitor and address community tensions; formalise engagement, empower local Muslim community groups and inform partner agencies where vulnerabilities may exist thereby protecting communities and in the long term community cohesion.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/284.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Radicalism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 17:28
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2016 15:25
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/430

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