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Although extremely rare in the UK, violent extremism and terrorism are still a danger to us all. Surrey and Sussex can be threatened by a few people who encourage or glorify violence in the name of politics or religion.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism occurs when unlawful force or threats are used to support a belief or ideology. These criminal acts can include threatening someone because they are a different colour or religion; causing damage to property to get a political point of view across; or setting off a bomb to kill or injure people and terrorise whole communities.

Who are terrorists?

They can come from any background, any community, or any religion. They can be young or old, male or female. They believe that violence or terrorism is acceptable, and that it can bring them respect, riches or even glory.

Why does it happen?

It can happen when a person feels angry or helpless about something they believe is wrong or unjust, or because they hate anyone who does not agree with their distorted views or beliefs. However, even though they may be justified to feel angry about something they feel is unfair, this does not mean they should attack or threaten any person.

How we are tackling the threat?

Since 2001, many plots to attack the UK have been stopped by the police and security services, saving the lives of many people, and in recent years terrorists have been convicted and jailed. But we strongly believe that terrorists will try again. Therefore it is important to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism in the first place.

Prevention is better than the cure

Acts of terrorism or extremism are criminal and it is our duty to do all we can to stop them from happening in the first place. Partnership agencies such as the police, council and health services are working with the people of Surrey and Sussex to stop individuals becoming or supporting terrorists by building stronger, safer communities who feel empowered to reject extremism and terrorism in all its forms.

This work is called Prevent and is part of our country's counter terrorism strategy.

As part of this work we are helping vulnerable people so they do not get caught up in terrorism and we are making it more difficult for terrorists to spread their destructive messages.

Our work is helping to bring local authorities, police and communities closer together.

Prevent - the facts

We recognise that people may have concerns about the Prevent strategy and what it means in Surrey and Sussex.

It is not about spying on our communities, it is about working with local residents and partner agencies such as councils, the health service and other support services to protect those communities and vulnerable people.

It is not targeted at religion - extremists can come from any background. It is not about blame. There is no hidden agenda to criminalise any individual or to target any community or group. Prevent is about working together with the public to support vulnerable people and build stronger, safe communities.

Working together

Every neighbourhood in Surrey and Sussex has police and local authority teams working with and for local people to tackle crime and safety issues that matter to them. Community Safety teams, Safer Neighbourhoods teams and their colleagues work with local people to find solutions to local problems.

Our aims

  • We want to help people and prevent them from being drawn into violence.
  • We want to deal with problems such as hate crime and victimisation that may cause a person to feel vulnerable.
  • We want to help unite communities against those who want to cause harm.

How you can help

It is important that the public work with us so that we can protect vulnerable people and communities.

There are many ways to get involved or help:

  • You can get in touch with your local Safer Neighbourhoods team or local authority community team if you are worried about friends, relatives or neighbours.
  • You can speak to your local officers about helping run community events to raise awareness and bring people together.
  • You can provide facilities that could help us hold community engagement events so we can be sure that our communities understand the work we are doing and have a say in the way that we do it.

Contact us

If you have any worries or concerns in relation to Prevent or would like more information, email prevent@sussex.pnn.police.uk

The work of the Surrey and Sussex Police Prevent Team

One current focus of our Prevent teams is to keep people safe and to discourage local citizens from travelling to Syria, Iraq and other war zones due to the high levels of violence being experienced within these countries.

The work falls within the Government's Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST), and is made up of four strands:

  • Protect - to strengthen our overall protection against a terrorist attack.
  • Prepare - where we cannot stop a terrorist attack, to mitigate its impact.
  • Pursue - to stop terrorist attacks.
  • Prevent - to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism.

The Prevent Teams are active in:

  • Challenging extremist ideologies of those referred to the team.
  • Supporting individuals so that they are drawn away from extremism.
  • Working with institutions where there are risks of radicalisation.

In Sussex and Surrey, this work is being carried out in partnership with local authority staff.

If you wish to contact the Sussex Prevent Team, you can do so dialling 101 or alternatively email prevent@sussex.pnn.police.uk

The Sussex Prevent Team has a Twitter feed @Preventsussex

National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters website www.preventtragedies.co.uk

What to do if you see extremism online

If you, or someone you know is concerned that extremist material exists online then you can report it here. Members of the public can use this tool to report terrorist-related online content directly to the national police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.