English Defence League supporters in Liverpool 2017

The changing face of extremism

In 2011, the government unveiled the Prevent strategy. This aims to prevent children and young adults from developing views associated with extremism. In addition, since 2014 the Government have asked all education providers to prepare young people for modern British life by promoting British Values. British values include: “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs”. Providers and practitioners are asked to exemplify British values in their practice and challenge extremism.

What is extremism?

The Oxford dictionary defines extremism as “the holding of extreme political or religious views”. However it can be hard to define when a view is extreme. The Prevent strategy has brought that issue into focus. Since 2012 most referrals made to the Prevent strategy were either regarding Islamist extremism or right-wing extremism. But many people in the UK still focus on just the threat of terrorism from Islamic extremism. Meanwhile, the face of extremism in the UK is changing. To illustrate, the number of referrals for far-right extremism has rocketed in recent years. North West England has reported the sharpest rise in far-right extremism referrals through the Prevent strategy. It accounts for more than 3 times the amount of referrals made for Greater London.

The rise of right-wing extremism

Speaking on BBC News, a Home Office counter terrorist officer explains the rising threat from far-right extremists and Neo-Nazis:

We’ve got former mill towns and cities across the north where this ideology that white people are supposedly superior to everyone else, is growing and becoming more entrenched.”

With the rise of infamous right-wing activists such as Tommy Robinson, the police are keen to show that they do not tolerate extremism of any kind. Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, Head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said his officers have prosecuted several extreme right-wing suspects in recent years.

“We are committed to tackling all forms of toxic extremist ideology which has the potential to threaten public safety.”

Yet the threat from far-right extremism is still rising. Home Office figures show that the number of religious or racially motivated hate crimes in England and Wales increased from 37,417 in 2013-14 to 79,587 in 2017-18.

Mutual respect: how we achieve this at tpm

At tpm we actively encourage mutual respect and tolerance at all times. The most effective learning and work takes place within the context of tolerance and respect for others. tpm students and teachers are fully aware of the need to ensure no-one is discriminated against. This includes those in protected groups as defined in the Equality Act. Here are some of the ways in which we facilitate respect and tolerance in our learning centre:

  • Firstly, we have a Zero Tolerance Promise which outlines our zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination, extremism or radicalisation.
  • In addition, all staff and students complete formal training in equality and diversity.
  • tpm staff teach students to recognise the risks of radicalisation and extremism
  • teachers and trainers actively promote British values to students. They do this by embedding them into the curriculum and through professional discussions
  • Students learn also about the Prevent Duty, how to stay safe online and how to be an effective digital citizen through embedded curriculum activities. This is in association with with the Education Training Foundation and Child Exploitation and Online Protection organisations.

If you are a tpm student worried about extremism or radicalisation, please contact your tutor or Brian Quinn, our safeguarding lead. We will provide you with confidential support and advice. Similarly, please contact us if you feel you have been subject to discrimination. We’re here to support you and ensure your safety.