Wray, Lauren (2018) THE ROLE OF NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICING IN PREVENTING EXTREMISM. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The threat of extremism is profound and the number of individuals being radicalised within local communities in the UK continues to grow. The Prevent Strategy was developed to identify, support and ultimately stop people being drawn into extremism. It relies heavily on community policing principles and engagement between local police and local people. This research looks at the relationship between Neighbourhood Police and Counter Terrorism at ground level. It questions whether community engagement is as crucial to countering terrorism as the Prevent Strategy suggests, asks how this currently works in practice, and crucially whether this could be improved.

The research uses West Yorkshire Police as a basis and identifies four Neighbourhood Policing Teams as case studies, keeping the focus on frontline practices. A mixed methodological approach including interviews with NPT and counter terrorism personnel, focus groups with community participants, analysis of police activity reports, and observations of on duty police officers and PCSOs was employed. This provides a comprehensive assessment of how West Yorkshire Police delivers Prevent in our communities and a wealth of data to suggest how these practices may be improved.

This research concluded that positive community engagement is a significant factor to the successful delivery of the Prevent Strategy and as such community policing principles should be at the forefront of preventing extremism, however the current role of NPTs within the delivery of the Prevent Strategy was found to be well below the intended level. NPTs have limited capacity to carry out engagement within communities for general policing purposes, and generally lack the confidence, knowledge and information to proactively engage within vulnerable communities on topics relating to extremism. Whilst these challenges could be overcome with increased focus on training, information sharing and re-prioritisation, it is clear that the reducing resources and increasing demands placed on policing nationally will also need to be addressed if local police are going to be able to play a more significant role in the delivery of Prevent.

Wray THESIS.pdf - Accepted Version
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