Prevent programme
Prevent is part of the government's counterterrorism programme Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

A vast majority of alerts to a key anti-terror scheme have come from public bodies and not from the UK's Muslim community, a report has found. Less than 10% of the tip-offs to the government's Prevent programme has come from Muslims.

The poor response from the Muslim community is because they are boycotting the Prevent programme, according to a report in The Times. In the past six months, less than 300 tip-offs were received from Muslims. Earlier in December 2015, the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques announced a boycott of Prevent.

Of the 3,288 referrals to Prevent between January and June, 280 (8.6%) came from the Muslim community, according to the National Police Chiefs Council data. In contrast, around 2,200 referrals were made by public bodies outside policing such as social services or NHS or education sectors. The rest came from prisons or police.

"Prevent is about protecting those who might be vulnerable to the poisonous and pernicious influence of radicalisation. The programme is already working with hundreds of mosques, faith groups and community organisations," Security Minister John Hayes said.

"This year we introduced the Prevent duty, which requires key bodies across the country – including local government, prisons and schools – to have due regard to preventing people from being drawn into terrorism," he said.

"This is a job for all of us and we are continuing to work in partnership with communities of all faith backgrounds to challenge those who spread hatred and intolerance," he said.

Prevent has been criticised by Muslim religious and community leaders who believe the strategy is divisive and creates lack of trust among different communities, as well as within the Muslim communities spread across the country.

"Despite claims to the contrary, 'Prevent' almost exclusively targets young Muslims for the views they hold on religion or issues such as government foreign policy. Schools and teachers are cast in the role of spies on our young people. This is leading to increasing division and to a breakdown of trust in schools and colleges," Muslim leaders said in a statement.

Prevent is part of the government's counterterrorism strategy called Contest, which was developed to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism.

Earlier in December 2015, the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques announced a boycott of Prevent.