Introduction, Context & Scope
BSS is a student accommodation agency providing a choice of accommodation options throughout London. We offer a range of accommodation, including halls of residence, apartment/house shares and homestays for students of all ages.
BSS understands its responsibilities under the Counter Terrorism & Security Act 2015 to prevent people of all ages being radicalised or drawn into terrorism and seeks to meet its obligations in the ways shown below.
This policy applies to everyone involved with BSS, including directly employed staff, homestay hosts, assessors and accommodation staff. All are expected to read and abide by this policy.
Leadership & Action Plan
Responsibility for ensuring Prevent Duty is met lies with the Directors, as does responsibility for the Prevent risk assessment/action plan and policy. Their duties are to ensure delivery of an effective risk assessment/ action plan and policy as outlined here. They can be contacted by email or by telephone on (020) 7436 7738.
BSS will undertake a risk assessment to identify the potential risks associated with students being drawn into terrorism. On the basis of this risk assessment BSS will identify any actions which need to be taken to mitigate the risks and develop an appropriate action plan. This plan will be reviewed and updated annually.
Working with Local Partners
BSS will maintain contact with the local police and authorities to understand their role and the support available via their Engagement Officers or Prevent Co-ordinators via the Channel process. Our local authority (Westminster Council) confirmed the Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCB) as being another useful organisation.
- Terrorism: For the purposes of this policy, terrorism is defined as the use or threatened use of violence for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.
- Radicalisation: The act or process of making a person more radical or favouring of extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic or social conditions, institutions or habits of mind
- Extremism: Holding extreme views on political, religious or racial topics among others, which may deny rights to any group or individual. Can be expressed in vocal or active opposition to core British values.
- Core British Values: These include democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the respectful tolerance of different faiths or beliefs.
Understanding Risks of Extremism
Staff, students and other adults (group leaders, etc) may arrive already holding extremist views or may be influenced by a range of factors: global events, peer pressure, media, extremist materials (hardcopy or online), inspirational speakers, friends or relatives being harmed, social networks, and more.
People who are vulnerable are more likely to be influenced. Their vulnerability could stem from a range of causes, including: loss of identity or sense of belonging, isolation, exclusion, mental health problems, sense of injustice, personal crisis, victim of hate crime or discrimination, and bereavement. For example:
- Identity Crisis: Distance from cultural or religious heritage and uncomfortable with their place in the society around them.
- Personal Crisis: Family tensions, sense of isolation, low self-esteem, disassociating from existing friendships.
- Personal Circumstances: Migration, local community tensions; events affecting country/region of origin, alienation from core British values, sense of grievance triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination.
- Unmet Aspirations: Perceptions of injustice, feeling of failure, rejection of civic life.
- Criminality: Experience of imprisonment, poor reintegration, previous involvement with criminal groups.
Behaviour Raising Concerns
The following signs may suggest concerns and should be raised with the Prevent Leads:
- Talking about exposure to extremist materials or views outside school.
- Changing attitude, e.g. suddenly intolerant of differences/having a closed mind
- Changing behaviour, e.g. becoming isolated
- Falling standard of work, poor attendance, disengagement
- Asking questions about topics connected to extremism
- Offering opinions that appear to have come from extremist ideologies
- Attempting to impose one’s own views/beliefs on others
- Using extremist vocabulary to exclude others or incite violence
- Accessing extremist material online or via social network sites
- Performing overt new religious practices
- Possessing drawings or posters showing extremist ideology / views / symbols
- Voicing concerns about anyone
Note – Any concerns relating to a person under 18 years is a safeguarding issue and should be dealt with by safeguarding staff and, where necessary, the LSCB contacted.
- Promote a safe and supportive international environment by clear expectation of accepted behaviours and those, including radicalisation and extremism, that will not be tolerated.
- Promote core British values to students. Approach is to educate that this is how things are in UK; although it may be different to your country.
- Challenge radical or extremist views in any context (formal or informal). In most situations this would require an immediate response, referring to international environment of London and the tolerance expected via Student and Host Guidelines, then reporting concerns.
- Be ready to react when world or local events, e.g. Paris attacks, cause upset and the likelihood of conflicting feelings being expressed. The Prevent Lead is to take the initiative in these situations.
- Have strong filters on IT equipment and clear rules on accessing extremist/terrorist websites/uses of social networks to exchange extremist terrorist views.
- Staff and hosts get to know students, their home circumstances and friendship groups, making it easier to spot changes in behaviour and identify those in a vulnerable state, being observant in noticing any signs of radical or extremist behaviour.