Wokingham Borough is a relatively safe place to live and work but the community can be affected by events that happen both internationally and closer to home.
Wokingham Borough Council is leading the work locally in delivering the Prevent Strategy, a government programme which is about safeguarding adults and children who may be vulnerable to all forms of extremist or radicalisation (violent and non-violent). You can find out more about the Prevent Strategy webpages.
The aim is to act early by spotting the warning signs of an individual at risk of being drawn or groomed into extremist and terrorism ideologies and provide early intervention and support.
The authority works closely with partners such as police, health, probation services, schools and colleges, to name just a few. It also chairs a multi-agency partnership of professionals called a Channel Panel which provides support to vulnerable individuals who are at risk of being influenced by extremist ideologies.
Cllr Bill Soane, executive member for neighbourhood and communities, said: “We all have a responsibility to keep our community safe. There is no single profile of a person likely to become drawn into extremist and terrorist ideologies and behaviours, but we must be aware of the signs which could indicate a person is at risk. We work closely with our partners to identify risks which may impact on the borough. If you have any concerns, please get in touch.”
Signs to watch out for
Signs of being drawn into extremist and terrorist ideologies and behaviours could include:
- Becoming withdrawn and no longer participating in usual activities
- Expressing feelings of anger, grievance and injustice
- Go missing from their home, school or care setting
- Joining a new group of friends who have extremist ideologies
- Using language that supports "us and them" model of thinking
- Possessing or searching for extremist literature online
As the half term holiday approaches, the borough council is launching a campaign on internet safety. The pandemic has meant that children and young people are spending more time than ever before learning and socialising online.
Parents are often juggling new technology alongside working and navigating the risks children face online. Extremists use the internet and social media to spread their ideology, hate, fake news, and conspiracy theories. They actively target, exploit and groom children and young people.
As a parent or guardian, there are a number of things you can do to help keep you children safe online, and help them understand the risks. You can:
- Speak with your child about what they do online
- Show an interest in their online friends
- Agree on the sites that they can visit
- Think about installing parental control on devices
- Agree on the amount of time they spend online
More information and support
There is lots of information on the Act Early website including case studies, signs to spot, FAQs and details of where to get help, including a new, confidential advice line.
If you feel there is immediate danger, call 999 or if you have concern call 101 and ask to speak to a Prevent Officer. You can also report:
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