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Engaging women in prevent

Women are at the heart of their communities and have been, and still are, the people best placed to recognise early warning signs of radicalisation.

This can include noticing behavioural changes in people in the home or community which might be of concern, whether that be in terms of drug addiction, gang involvement, or recruitment to terrorism.

However, Muslim women have been identified as having little contact or interaction with the police as highlighted by research commissioned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) called ‘Assessing the Effects of Prevent Policing.

In Bedfordshire we are looking at different ways of engaging with women’s groups.

These include the re-launch of Project Shanaz, now called Women's Network and visiting local groups and delivering the prevent messages and workshops.

The Women's Network was established to break down barriers and encourage women to play an active part in the Government’s Prevent agenda. The Network, now an independent body, provides a platform for the group to participate as equals in decision-making around the development of policy and strategy, in an area of policing which impacts directly upon them.

The Network’s objectives include; work to address ideologies which terrorists use to recruit people to their cause; work to support those who may be vulnerable to radicalisation, and work to strengthen institutions which can play a role in Prevent.

The re-launch event was held in Luton on 19 June 2013 and attended by approximately 40 women. During the launch they had presentations by the local Prevent Inspector, Inspire, The Jan Trust and the Channel project.   They were also shown a video called 'Your Mother' by an organisation Sisters Against Violent Extremism through Women without Borders website.

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