Dame Sara Khan has suggested the Government has failed to properly explain and deliver their counter-terrorisom measure of the Prevent programme.
The plan was intenteded to target vulnerable groups in order to prevent them being drawn into terrorism networks.
Years after the strategy was first published by the Government, the social cohesion advisor has highlighted “detrimental failures” in various stages of the Prevent rollout.
Ms Khan suggested the programme has failed to engage with the vulnerable groups the policy aimed to protect as misinformation has led to a public understanding of Prevent being a “spying operation.”
BBC journalist Nick Robinson said: “You’ve talked about Prevent not being perfect, about there being problems, it’s under review, but, what are you thinking of?”
Ms Khan replied: “I mean, there are lots of things that I saw.
“[The Government] didn’t do this effectively, they didn’t go out and explain to Muslim communities what Prevent is about.
“In essence, they left a vacuum, which when Islamists then dominated and said, well this is what Prevent is about.”
She continued: “People were concerned about Prevent, thinking it was a spying operation, when it clearly wasn’t.
“There have clearly been mistakes in the past.
“The example of the spy cameras in Birmingham form very early on in the Prevent stages.
“There were issues like that that caused detrimental failures and people not to respect or appreciate the programme.”
Ms Khan added: “Those types of challenges have continued and, I think, having that engagement, continuing to engage with communities, explaining what the programme is, addressing concerns, that’s got to continue in a much better way than we’ve seen previously.”
The social cohesion advisor suggested Government anti-terrorism measures would fail unless they were able to establish signifcant connections and understanding within the targetted communities.
Prevent policy has been put forward for independent review by the Government over concerns the programme is ineffective.
William Shawcross has been appointed as the independent reviewer of Prevent as of January 2021, though a full report has yet to be published.