UK failing to listen to warnings on Hamas extremism, says Prevent review author

Sir William Shawcross says 'public is at risk' due to ministers' lack of action on key recommendations

Sir William Shawcross, who reviewed the UK's counter-terrorism strategy, has warned his recommendations have been ignored. AFP
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The British public are being put at risk because recommendations made to the government’s counter-terror scheme have been ignored, the man who reviewed it has warned.

Sir William Shawcross said ministers had “ignored” some of his key recommendations for Prevent, a scheme to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The government should be paying "much more attention to the Hamas support network" in the UK, especially given the events of October 7, he warned.

Hamas militants launched a surprise assault on Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing around 1,200 people.

Published last year, the review called for an overhaul of the Prevent programme, with the former home secretary Suella Braverman saying it needed “major reform” and must focus on security, “not political correctness”.

The programme needs to “better understand the threats we face and the ideology underpinning them”, she said, after a long-awaited report made a raft of recommendations for improvement.

“The government has published a report saying that they have made some of those changes that I asked for, that I proposed – but not enough," Sir William told the BBC.

“And I think as a result the public is at risk.”

The government claims 30 of the 34 recommendations made by Sir William have already been delivered, while “progress has been made against each of the remaining recommendations”.

The government “should pay much more attention to the Hamas support network”, Sir William continued.

“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.

“The public is more at risk because of the events of October 7 and subsequently – and many, many people in this country are much more frightened than they have ever been before.”

Updated: February 22, 2024, 4:07 PM