'Prevent' scheme 'could take 20 years'
08 February 2010
It could take 20 years for the government's 'Prevent' agenda – which aims to tackle violent extremism, especially that inspired by al-Qaida – to work, West Yorkshire's Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison has warned.
"I think it's a generation of treatment to prevent the infection spreading and I think that will take us probably 20 years," he told the BBC, adding: "I think we have to be alert and conscious of the risk that's ever-present and prepared to interdict and prepared to share information. So the community as a whole could do more and the Muslim community is a part of that."
Bettison added: "I'm looking for the community to work much more closely with the police in identifying young people that they have concerns about in terms of the people that they're mixing with, the sort of websites that they're going on to and the material that they're reading. Now, that information can only come from the community itself."
Bettison also questioned the idea that more police auttomatically meant a better service.
"We need to stop fixating about the number of bobbies on the beat," he told The Times. "Where else do you judge the success and effectiveness of a public service by the number of people doing it? Emptying bins? Brain surgery? No! We have got to get out of that. Give me the dirty dozen who are the most committed, dedicated individuals and I will take the fort behind enemy lines."
Bettison went on: "I'd rather have people working effectively than a brigade of people going through the motions and doing only what's required of them. Politicians in the past have been wedded to this numbers game. A financial crisis often creates opportunity for innovation. The next government, of whatever persuasion, has a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity to do something different."