Counter-Extremism, PREVENT and the Extreme Right Wing: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges

Chris Allen, Arshad Isakjee, Özlem Ögtem-Young


In recent years, the extreme right wing (XRW) has undergone significant and rapid change to the extent that it now presents a very real threat to the domestic security of the United Kingdom (UK). This has resulted in a number of challenges for various stateex, institutional and grassroots stakeholders including how to appropriately and effectively respond and counter this growing threat. Among these challenges are concerns as to whether existing counter-tremism policies and measures – to date having almost solely been applied in response to Islamist extremism – remain fit for purpose. This Working Paper draws on interdisciplinary research into governmental, institutional and community responses to Islamist extremism in the city of Birmingham to speak directly to these concerns. Informed and contextualised by our findings, we provide an overview of counter-extremism policy, consider the criticisms and concerns expressed about these, set out the evidence base for the growing threat posed by the XRW, before highlighting a number of challenges stakeholders will need to consider if they are to avoid the errors of the past and build on the lessons learned. As well as making a new and timely contribution, we hope this paper will stimulate and provoke further discussion about the changing nature of the UK’s domestic extremism threat and the policy measures in place.

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