Local authorities refer almost 300 to Channel

A freedom of Information request (FoI) submitted by The Times has revealed that councils across England and Wale referred a total of 284 to the government’s deradicalisation programme, Channel, in 2015.

The data showed that council referrals came from various departments including housing, social care, children’s safeguarding, adults’ safeguarding, tough offending teams and youth workers.

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act directs that ‘specific authorities should have due regard to the need to prevent individuals being drawn into terrorism.’ It means anyone suspected of being vulnerable to extremist ideologies must be referred to Channel.

The deradicalisation programme provides one-to-one ‘deradicalisation’ sessions with liberal Muslims and sometimes former jihadist and in some cases, former jihadists. Thos who are referred to Channel are allowed to withdraw and parents can refuse consent.

The FoI revealed that 1,041 children were referred last year to Channel, as well as 180 pupils from further education colleges, 76 university students, and 228 people from the health service.

Around half of those referred were assessed as requiring no further intervention.