United Kingdom, June 2018: The fifth Study visit in the context of the MINDb4ACT project was spread in five different days, in a total of four different locations. CENTRIC organized the stay, participated by representatives of PPBW. The visits helped collecting sensitive information about the PREVENT approach.

The fourth MINDb4ACT Study visit was spread across five separate days in June in both England and Northern Ireland, in a total of four different locations. This visit was carried out in addition to the existing five missions originally planned and was coordinated by the research center CENTRIC with the attendance of PPBW, the project Polish partners.

The first of the five days interviewed local PREVENT program leads for counter terrorism and domestic extremism in the City of Sheffield. Here they provided crucial insight towards the key defining differences between domestic extremism and terrorism, as well as challenges of sharing intelligence, working with the communities and the ‘Prevent branding’.

The second was hosted in London at two separate locations; with the Black and Asian Police Association at the Empress State building, and, secondly at New Scotland Yard with London’s Counter Terrorism DCI and the Chief Superintendent at the head of the national PREVENT scheme. The former event provided a bottom up perspective of the difficulties of PREVENT and Black, Asian, and minority officers of engaging communities, but also of receiving sufficient support and numbers inside the London police force. The later event at New Scotland Yard provided a top down, high level discussion and insight into the management, resourcing and national problems of applying PREVENT across Great Britain.

Following on from this, a whole day of meetings and interactions with; analysts, DCI’s and senior counter terrorism staff of the Police Service Northern Ireland were held in Belfast, this allowed the discussion of the Northern Ireland approach which is disconnected from the UK CONTEST strategy and is primarily focused on dissident republican and loyalist terrorist/ organized crime groups. This was an exceptionally interesting visit and learning opportunity because Northern Ireland presents a very unique and dynamic model of policing the terrorist and domestic extremist threats.

The fourth meeting was back in Sheffield, with a visit from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit (NECTU). Their analysts discussed the importance of social media and how online investigations can detect early precursors for safeguarding vulnerable from being drawn into radicalization, as well as for surveillance and monitoring of suspects.

The fifth and final meeting was with the UK Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations. This study visit elicited critical opinions on current limitations for the PREVENT program surrounding cultural competency and funding.

As coordinators, CENTRIC is very happy with the level of information and seniority of external law enforcement partners reached via the project. This has provided excellent end user requirements, undocumented knowledge as well as interest and awareness of the MINDb4ACT platform for future engagement.