Community Policy Forum’s Response to the Shawcross Review

The Community Policy Forum is deeply concerned that the Government has chosen to accept the recommendations of the Shawcross Review of PREVENT, as published yesterday. What could have been a valuable opportunity to develop meaningful policies through open engagement with the evidence of experts and community stakeholders, has instead descended into an ideological project with no credibility to be considered truly independent.

The review failed to engage with the evidence and wide-spread criticisms raised about the PREVENT strategy by academics, communities, UN observers, and other experts, and instead offers proposals that will only further exacerbate the damage currently being done by a program that is unfit for purpose.

Of particular concern, is Shawcross’ attempts to minimise the threat posed by the far-right, dismiss criticisms of structural Islamophobia, create a blacklist of Muslim groups, and enforce simplistic and academically unfounded assumptions of radicalisation as a matter of ideology over wider social and situational factors, such as mental health. 

Unfortunately, the Government refused to respond to concerns raised at the time of Shawcross’ appointment highlighting his history of inflammatory comments about Islam and engagement with anti-Muslim discourses – a history that is clearly reflected throughout the review and which invalidates its impartiality and supposedly independent status. 

Regrettably, the review is thus a missed opportunity to build trust and engage communities in building a strategy that keeps us safe.

In light of this, we strongly urge the Government to reject the recommendations of the review and instead pursue an evidence-based and impartial approach to engagement with stakeholders in the hope of developing meaningful and effective policies for ensuring our security.

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