Counter-terrorism scheme criticism based on ignorance - senior police officer

Updated: 

A senior Scotland Yard police officer has defended a Government counter-terrorism programme.

Prevent is a strand of the Government's counter-terrorism strategy which has repeatedly attracted controversy, with critics labelling it toxic and calling for it to be scrapped.

But Commander Dean Haydon has said criticism of the programme is based on ignorance, adding that some criticism came from parts of the community that "don't want Prevent to work in the first place", BBC News has reported. 

He told the BBC's Asian Network that the programme was not about spying on people but about keeping them safe, and said it had achieved "fantastic" results.

Police say Prevent is a crucial plank of wider counter-terrorism and extremism efforts.

Earlier this year, a Government spokeswoman said: "Prevent is about safeguarding people who are at risk of radicalisation.

"Prevent does not target a specific faith or ethnic group - it deals with all forms of extremism and protects those who are targeted by terrorist recruiters."

:: The interview with Commander Haydon will be broadcast on Tuesday at 10am on the BBC's Asian Network.