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Government’s anti-extremism body Prevent is failing to tackle ‘Hamas support network’ and the Gaza war is helping fuel sympathy for Islamist terror in Britain, counter-terror reviewer warns


The Government’s anti-extremism body Prevent is failing to tackle the ‘Hamas support network’ behind pro-Palestine protests in the UK, an independent counter-terror reviewer has warned. 

Sir William Shawcross said the anti-extremism scheme was failing to identify people sympathising with Islamist terror in the wake of the October 7 attack.

He warned that the scheme continued to have a bias towards tackling the rise in Right-wing terrorists and that the Gaza war in fueling sympathy for Islamist terror in Britain.

He added that members of the ‘underlying Hamas support network’ within the UK were responsible for promoting the mass pro-Palestinian marches which have taken to the streets in recent months.

Pro-Palestine marches have been taking place every Saturday in London since the war in Gaza started.  

In a bombshell report published last year, Sir William found that Prevent repeatedly ‘failed’ to identify attackers.

The Home Office said it had implemented almost all of his proposals and eventually would enact them all. 

The scheme places public bodies, such as schools and the police, under a legal duty to identify people in danger of turning to extremism. 

Sir William Shawcross said the anti-extremism scheme was failing to identify people sympathising with Islamist terror in the wake of the October 7 attack

Sir William Shawcross said the anti-extremism scheme was failing to identify people sympathising with Islamist terror in the wake of the October 7 attack

Thousands of Pro Palestinian supporters perform a sit in in Oxford Circus before marching to Trafalgar Square in November last year

Thousands of Pro Palestinian supporters perform a sit in in Oxford Circus before marching to Trafalgar Square in November last year

Palestinians check destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip yesterday

Palestinians check destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip yesterday

The Home Secretary said the counter-terrorism system needs to 'continually evolve and adapt'

The Home Secretary said the counter-terrorism system needs to ‘continually evolve and adapt’

Sir William told The Telegraph: ‘The Government is failing to implement my recommendations properly and the British people are therefore in more danger from extremists and terrorists.

‘Some of the things I’ve recommended that have not been carried out do represent such an increased threat because October 7 has changed everything.

‘I am concerned about the increased threat to the public that exists after October 7 which still needs to be addressed.’

He told the Telegraph he had warned ministers a year ago of the ‘pernicious’ threat of the terrorist group.

In a separate interview with the BBC, he said: ‘There are unfortunately quite a lot of Hamas sympathisers and some operatives in this country.

‘Prevent and the police should have been working much harder against those Hamas people in this country.’

A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC the government had made ‘significant progress to deliver a strengthened Prevent’.

They added: ‘William Shawcross’s Review was critical to ensuring Prevent is fit for purpose, which is why we accepted his recommendations in full.

‘One year on, we have delivered 30 of the 34 recommendations he made, and we are making rapid progress on delivering the remaining four.

‘The government agrees that extreme Islamist ideology presents the greatest threat to the UK, and has moved swiftly to update Prevent duty guidance and training to make that clear.’

On Tuesday, ministers marked a year since the report’s publication by saying they had brought the Prevent scheme back to its ‘core mission’.

Suella Braverman told MPs at the time that Prevent's focus 'must solely be on security, not political correctness'

Suella Braverman told MPs at the time that Prevent’s focus ‘must solely be on security, not political correctness’

Hundreds gather outside the parliament to stage a protest in support of Palestinians last night

Hundreds gather outside the parliament to stage a protest in support of Palestinians last night

The pro-Palestine marches have been taking place in London since the war in Gaza started

The pro-Palestine marches have been taking place in London since the war in Gaza started

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the counter-terrorism system needs to ‘continually evolve and adapt’.

He added that – thanks to the work undertaken after the report – ‘we have a first-class Prevent programme’.

He ordered the ‘major reform’ of the flagship anti-terror programme in the wake of the critical report that found it was ‘failing to understand’ Islamist extremism.

But Suella Braverman told MPs at the time that Prevent’s focus ‘must solely be on security, not political correctness’ and said the scheme needs to ‘better understand the threats we face and the ideology underpinning them’.

Ms Braverman also said that antisemitism had been ‘tolerated, normalised and even accepted for too long in the UK.’



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