Experts to debate impact of the Prevent strategy at University of Leicester

Experts on hate extremism and the policymaking designed to tackle it are to convene for a University of Leicester public event, to debate the impact of the UK Government’s Prevent strategy.

This year’s Annual Scarman Lecture from the School of Criminology at the University of Leicester is entitled ‘Preventing equal participation. How the Government’s Prevent strategy undermines democracy’. This free public event will take place on Wednesday 28 September 2022 from 5pm via Teams Live.

It will consist of a 35 minute panel discussion followed by questions, with the panel Dr Layla Aitlhadj who is the Director and Senior Caseworker at Prevent Watch; Professor John Holmwood, Professor emeritus in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham; and Isobel Ingham-Barrow, CEO and founder of Community Policy Forum.

The event will be chaired by Dr Chris Allen, associate professor in the University’s School of Criminology and a researcher into hate extremism and the policies designed to counter it.

The Government’s Prevent strategy is directed at a pre-criminal space where no offences have been committed or even intended. As new terrorist offences are identified and new laws criminalising protest are introduced, the field of operation of Prevent is also extended. Prevent is directed at perceived extremist ‘ideologies’ on the assumption that they may draw some vulnerable individuals into violent terrorism offences

Dr Allen said: “This year’s lecture affords a timely opportunity to engage and think critically about a much contested governmental policy. As we await the publication of the findings from the Government’s independent review overseen by Sir William Shawcross, the lecture is a perfect opportunity to reflect upon both what has/has not worked and importantly why.”

Visit the Scarman Lectures website for more information or to book tickets:

Dr Layla Aitlhadj is the Director and Senior Caseworker at Prevent Watch where she supports people adversely impacted by the Prevent Duty. Layla has published extensively on Prevent and the broader Counter-Terrorism legislation across multiple platforms. She has edited lengthier academic reports and led more in-depth advocacy-based research. Together with Professor John Holmwood, she is co-Director of the People’s Review of Prevent set up as an alternative to the Shawcross Review following the boycott of the latter by Muslim NGOs and wider Civil Society groups, such as Liberty and Amnesty International.

Professor John Holmwood who is a professor emeritus in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. He has served as expert witness for the defence in misconduct cases brought against teachers accused of a plot to ‘Islamicise’ schools in Birmingham. Together with Therese O’Toole, he is author of Countering Extremism in Birmingham Schools? The Truth about the Birmingham Trojan Horse Affair (Policy Press, 2018).

Isobel Ingham-Barrow will be the respondent on the night. Isobel is the CEO and founder of Community Policy Forum, an independent think-tank seeking to engage academics, policymakers, and community groups in creating evidence-based and community centred approaches to policymaking surrounding the challenges and structural inequalities facing Muslim communities in the UK. Her PhD research at the University of Exeter explores the impact of Islamophobia on British Muslim men.

This event is free and open to all. Please click here for more information and to get your free ticket.