BRADFORD Councillors will be told that an increasing number of people are being flagged to the Prevent programme due to displaying signs of right wing extremism.

The policy was set up as part of the Government’s Counter Terrorism Strategy as a way to “reduce the likelihood of individuals supporting a violent extremist ideology or becoming terrorists.”

It followed a number of attacks in the UK by home grown terrorists.

An annual report on how the policy has been implemented in Bradford in the past year will be discussed by Bradford Council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee at a meeting on Thursday.

The report says that while the Government believes the main threat to UK is through terrorism inspired by ISIS, the number of referrals over far right extremism has drastically risen in recent years.

It will also detail the work that is being done in Bradford to done to tackle the different types of extremism, including training parents to spot warning signs that their child is being radicalised and a course to teach young people to “identify the similarities between gang involvement, extremism and radicalisation.”

Funding for such local schemes has more than doubled in the past year.

And last year over 16,000 young people were given lessons on how to avoid extremism.

A Home Office review of how the programme is being delivered in Bradford was carried out last year, and said Bradford “is generally delivering Prevent to a high standard. The team observed a range of innovative practice, strong partnership working and demonstrable leadership.”

One of the main parts of the Prevent programme is the Channel safeguarding scheme. The scheme is made up of panel of safeguarding professionals including police, social workers, NHS staff, schools and the justice system to identify those at risk of being drawn into terrorism, assess what the risk might be and then develop tailored support for those referred to them.

The report says that in the 2017/18 year, 394 people in the UK received Channel support. Of these 179 (45 per cent) were referred for concerns related to Islamist extremism, and 174 (44 per cent) were referred for concerns related to the right wing extremism.

It adds: “There was a 36 per cent increase in the number of referrals for concerns related to right wing extremism in 2017/18 (1,312) when compared with 2016/17 (968), continuing the upward trend seen since 2015/16.”

Discussing the rise in people flagged as falling into far right extremism, the report says: “The extreme far right is successfully tapping into political dis-engagement in society with a narrative of ‘betrayal’ and ‘traitors’ often focusing on MPs.

“There is a continued increase in internationalisation of ideas, tactics, money and collaborative working with the adoption of the ‘free speech’ narrative enabling the far right to deflect from their own extremism and attract a more mainstream audience.

“The far right has not gained significant traction in the district though individuals can be vulnerable to the on-line narrative.”

The dangers of far right extremism was thrust into the spotlight when Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox was murdered in Birstall by far right extremist Thomas Mair in 2016.

And last year Jack Coulson, a teenager who had lived in Bradford, was given a sentence of over four years in a youth offender institute for a terror offence. The 19 year-old had admitted possessing a document or record for terror purposes, and had previously been convicted for making a pipe bomb.

The jury had heard how Coulson’s bedroom was filled with Nazi symbols, including flags bearing the swastika and the symbol of the Waffen SS.

Funding for Prevent projects in Bradford rose drastically last year - from £142,000 in 2017/18 to £366,000 in 2018/19.

Of this funding, £21,000 has been spent delivering the BRAVE project - which “dispels the myths of gang life and how young people are exploited and groomed.” It warns young people about the often insidious ways far right groups and ISIS recruit young people, and has involved 6,000 12 to 18 year olds in the district.

The Resilient Families scheme has received £33,294 funding and helps educate parents what makes their children vulnerable to extremism, including online extremism. Over 1,200 people have been reached through the programme.

Empowering Minds has used £25,000 funding to run anti-radicalisation sessions in Bradford’s mosques and madrassas.

The Committee meets in City Hall on Thursday at 5.30pm.