PREVENTING radicalisation is key to fighting terrorism – that is one of the main ideas behind this government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

The UK has experienced three terrorism attacks in the past three months; Westminster, Manchester and most recently at the weekend at London Bridge. Seven people have died so far as a result of the attack on Saturday which saw pedestrians mowed down by a van on London Bridge before attackers stabbed a police officer and revellers around Borough Market with 12-inch knives.

Prime Minister Theresa May after the attack said the way in which we tackle extremism needs to change. Mrs May said there was “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country” and that safe spaces for terrorist ideology existed in the real world.

Mrs May said efforts to counter terrorism need to keep up with a threat that is now more complex, fragmented and hidden, especially online, as she pledged to review the UK’s counter terrorism strategy. She also raised the prospect of longer jail sentences for less serious terrorist offences and more powers for the security services.

Former chief crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal, one of the country’s most prominent Muslim lawyers, said the authorities were “lazy” in reaching out to minority community leaders and must do more to connect with younger Muslims from poorer backgrounds, particularly women.

An integral part of this government’s counter-terrorism plan is known as Prevent, a strategy which was implemented in 2011 with three main aims. These are responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it, preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support and working with institutions where there are risks of radicalisation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Warrender, of at Gwent Police, said: “Gwent Police works closely with partners, including local authorities, housing, health and education, to help minimise the risk of individuals and communities being exposed to the risk of radicalisation.

“A key part of this work is ensuring we intervene and safeguard people that may be vulnerable to extremist influences. We don’t target individuals or specific communities as terrorism exists in many forms, and happens for many reasons.

“People are often vulnerable to negative influences because they are socially isolated or have other difficulties in their lives, including mental ill health or drug and alcohol addictions.”

Mr Warrender said that, by working with their partners, they seek to ensure that the right support is put in place as early as possible for anyone who may be identified as vulnerable, in order to stop them becoming involved in any extremist activity.

“We do this by identifying individuals at risk, assessing the nature and extent of that risk by engaging positively with them and developing the most appropriate support plan,” he said. “This might include putting them in touch with positive role models, working with drug, alcohol or mental health services, working with their family, or introducing them to local projects that can offer an appropriate support network.

"We also deliver training to our officers and our partners, highlighting how radicalisation may occur, warning signs that may indicate vulnerability, and how to raise concerns should they need to.

“We rely on the vigilance of both these organisations and our communities to ensure we can intervene early enough to provide appropriate safeguarding and support.”

Organisations involved in Prevent in Gwent include all local authorities. Both Monmouthshire County Council and Newport City Council share the same strategy.

A spokeswoman speaking on behalf of both councils said: “Schools in Monmouthshire and Newport have received Prevent training, which includes elements around vulnerability and grooming.

“Schools are encouraged to provide safe spaces for students to have robust discussions on extremism and terrorism as they would any other subject matters.”

The spokeswoman said a key objective of Prevent is “to challenge the ideology of hate” and that this could be in many different forms.

“Schools incorporate this work via their anti-bullying lessons, online safety awareness and tackling racism,” she said. “A trial programme for students is being developed in Newport. If successful, it will be delivered wider.”

The spokeswoman said that, both within the local authorities and schools, the mechanism put in place if there are any radicalisation concerns is for this to be raised as a safeguarding matter.

“The teacher will follow the safeguarding procedure that is in place for the school and, if required, a referral is made,” she said.

In the case of Torfaen council, accredited Home Office training has been delivered to head teachers, governors and safeguarding leads in schools to protect young people from radicalisation.

A spokesman for Torfaen council said that all Torfaen schools have received information and advice, including ‘Respect and Resilience’ – the Welsh Government’s guidance document.

He said: “A wider programme of training has been delivered across council services and further training is ongoing including the staff of registered social landlords, nursery staff and childminders.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council continues to be “proactive” in providing in-depth training to staff, a spokesman for the council said.

He said: “The safer Caerphilly community safety partnership secured funding to provide free training for frontline and other staff on Prevent.

“Part of the training includes details of the referral pathway process staff need to take in order to raise any concerns they may have about an individual. To date, more than 280 education frontline staff have received the extensive training, which has been cascaded to staff at their facilities, with schools in some cases also having funded a trainer to deliver training at their schools for all staff.”

The spokesman said a key element of the strategy is Channel - a multi-agency approach to support people at risk from radicalisation.

“The Caerphilly county borough Channel Panel was set up in 2013 to deal with all Channel referrals received – through a single point of contact - from various departments and agencies across Caerphilly county borough,” he said.

As an example of a college which has implemented the strategy, Coleg Gwent has developed guidance to help staff identify learners at risk of radicalisation.

A spokeswoman for Coleg Gwent said: “We compiled a Safeguarding Action Plan, which highlights the risks as well as the actions to mitigate the risks, and a training plan, which is currently being delivered to nearly all staff at Coleg Gwent.”

She said the college have a code of conduct, which all learners have to sign up to during induction and that each campus also has a designated prayer/quiet room.

The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service along with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board confirmed they provide Prevent training to their staff.