UK

Counter-terror scheme failures are endangering public, warns ex-adviser

Sir William Shawcross said ministers had ignored some of his recommendations for Prevent which aims to stop people from becoming terrorists.

Sir William Shawcross has warned that the public is at risk
Sir William Shawcross Sir William Shawcross has warned that the public is at risk (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The public is 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 pay much more attention to the Hamas support network in the UK, especially after the events of October 7, he warned.

Militants from Hamas launched a surprise assault to enter Israel from Gaza on October 7 before killing more than 1,000 Israelis.

Published last year, the review called for an overhaul of the Prevent programme, with then-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.

Sir William told the BBC: “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.

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

The Government claims thirty 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”, he 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.”