Home Office counter-terror scheme helps stop 500 potential terrorists

home-officeThe Government’s counter-terrorism anti-radicalisation scheme, Channel, has seen more than 500 would-be terrorists supported, according to a new report.

The £3 million-a-year multi-agency programme identifies people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and it saw 2,500 British residents referred between January 2007 and December 2012.

Of those, a fifth have received support and been turned away from life as a potential terrorist. The Channel programme included people inspired by al-Qaeda and those holding extreme far-right views.

The figures were revealed in the Government’s first annual report on the UK’s strategy for countering terrorism and it showed referral rates of would-be terrorists increased between January 2011 and December 2012 – with 1,274 referred and 243 offered support, including a number of school children.

Charles Farr, director general of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism, said: “I really believe Channel is an essential part of our counter-terrorism.”

The report also outlined challenges which lie ahead for the UK’s counter-terror strategy. It stated the overall threat to the UK has gone beyond al-Qaeda plots formed in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Government strategy is to adapt to stay ahead of the terrorism threat.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the “threat from terrorism is changing but remains substantial” and the Government is working to enhance the UK’s counter-terrorism capabilities.

“We need to continue to detect, prosecute and otherwise disrupt terrorist threats. We must develop our Prevent work to respond to the challenge from domestic radicalisation and home-grown terrorism,” she added.

“We must continue to strengthen our border security. We will work with other countries and multilateral organisations to deal with the new international terrorist threats.”

Figures recently released by the Home Office showed that 245 people were held on suspicion of terrorism-related offences in the UK in 2012, which was a 60% increase on the previous year.

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