‘Prevent’ Presentations at East Durham College Helping to Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Extremism Faced by Young People

East Durham College hosted a series of ‘Prevent’ talks recently, aimed at further embedding the advice given to students relating to staying safe both on and offline.

The 45-minute presentations were delivered by SaferVision, who specialise in developing understanding of extremism and relevant dangers faced by young people.

These presentations give our students the opportunity to learn more about the Prevent Duty, which is designed to protect potentially vulnerable young people from being recruited by extremists using the internet and other tools.

Alfie Wilkson, Student Liason Officer at East Durham College, said: “These sessions are designed to cover the importance of the Prevent Duty, how it relates to young people in County Durham and the role social media plays.

“The talks are aimed at giving East Durham College’s learners are more in-depth and practical knowledge or prevent, and to provide them with the tools required to identify potential issues and ways to report concerns.”

The talks were led by Peter Thompson and Sharon Ross, both former police officer and now spokespersons for SaferVision.

Peter retired after completing 28 years’ service with Northumbria Police in August 2015 and has a wealth of experience in many aspects of policing including uniformed policing, Custody Suite Operations, Force Inspectorate, Vehicle Crime and the Drugs Intervention Programme.

In 2008, Peter was involved in the development and delivery of the Government’s Prevent strategy and has delivered Prevent Awareness training to thousands of people in the North East Region.

Sharon Ross also recently retired from a 30 year policing career with Northumbria Police. Sharon worked in many different departments during her lengthy career, including crime investigations, Public Protection Units and as a Risk Management Officer in the MAPPA unit, managing risk around convicted sexual offenders.

In 2010, Sharon was introduced to Prevent where she remained for the last 6 years of service in the police as a Prevent Officer, raising awareness of the increasing risk to vulnerable people from radicalisation.

Sharon said: “Today, the subject of extremism, in all its guises, cannot simply be ignored or wished away. We both worked in Prevent Policing for a number of years, and witnessed the effects extremist messages can have on both children and adults. This 'radicalisation' can put not only the individual at risk of harm, but the wider community too, causing worry and concern for families and friends too. 

“Safervision is a continuation of the safeguarding work we did as Police officers, delivering a range of training for staff and students across many sectors and we were delighted to be given the opportunity to work with East Durham College and it’s students, helping them to understand some of issues that can affect young people today. We believe that through better understanding of the topic, people will feel more confident to discuss matters that concern them and better understand what they can do about it.”