Background Understanding the views and opinions of ambulance clinicians about counter-terrorism is limited, as are the roles they have in identifying individuals vulnerable to radicalisation. The aim of this survey was to investigate ambulance clinician views and preparedness to identify individuals at risk of radicalisation and whether the current national PREVENT training offered is suitable for this clinical setting.
Methods A purpose-designed, 18-question survey, was developed to understand staff attitudes and content knowledge of the national PREVENT training module. The survey was opened to all emergency ambulance clinicians in one UK ambulance service during August 2020, resulting in a sample of 123 responses which were analysed using descriptive and thematic approaches.
Results Most respondents (87%; n=107) were aware of the PREVENT strategy, with almost three-quarters (73%; n=90) receiving training within the previous three years. Respondents were asked to score training received: the majority (89%; n=110) reported 5/10 or less. Whilst most (79%; n=97) identified the correct way to refer an individual, few had completed a PREVENT referral (9%; n=11). ‘Gut instinct’ was utilised by respondents to support their knowledge obtained via PREVENT training (70%, n=86). Respondents felt the national PREVENT training lacked relevance to their role and recommended ambulance-specific training packages be made available. They recognised their responsibility of identifying radicalisation and the opportunities their unique position offered to do so. Having a ‘duty of care’ and ‘moral responsibilities’ to make PREVENT referrals, and the importance of treating individuals as patients (not criminals), was also highlighted.
Conclusions Ambulance staff have highlighted the importance of a clear and robust referral pathway for individuals vulnerable to radicalisation. Current training lacks specificity and effectiveness for the ambulance service setting. As this survey was limited to one ambulance service, future research is warranted to ensure PREVENT training is appropriate for all ambulance staff.
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