Channel is a multi-agency safeguarding programme run in every local authority in England and Wales. It is designed to stop vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism, and involves a range of organisations that work directly with individuals of any age, including the council, the police and health organisations.
Anyone can make a referral to Channel. When an individual is referred to the Channel programme, a panel – chaired by the local authority and made up of representatives from different organisations that work with people - will assess the nature and extent of the potential vulnerability of the individual and, where necessary, provide an appropriate support package tailored to their needs.
This support could include counselling, assistance with employment, or mentoring to protect them from being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity, or supporting terrorism.
Channel is completely voluntary, and any person referred has to decide if they want to take up the support the programme offers. If a person referred is aged 17 or under, their parent or guardian has to give this consent.
Every local authority has their own panel, and in Waltham Forest it is chaired by the Early Help and Safeguarding teams in the council. Members include representatives from the police, health partners and other council teams.
Channel is not about prosecuting or stigmatising individuals who have been referred. It is a way of safeguarding people and helping them avoid a journey into terrorism and crime using the expertise of different organisations.
Channel does not lead to a criminal record – it is designed to help stop people being drawn into criminal activity that could affect their prospects in later life.
Panel meetings to discuss referrals are held on a monthly basis. If you have any concerns about someone and would like more advice please contact the community safety team.