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University cleaning staff trained to spot students at risk from extremism
22 August 2017
Universities are training cleaning staff to eavesdrop on students who may be at risk of radicalisation by terrorists, it has emerged.
The London South Bank University and the Open University are among several institutions to teach cleaning, security and catering staff how to spot tell-tale signs.
It is understood that university leaders have widened their scope because students with extremist sympathies are more likely to disclose telling information in canteens, cafes and libraries - rather than conventional spaces such as lecture theatres.
London South Bank university is giving face-to-face training to its cleaning, security and catering staff in the hope that they will spot signs that teaching staff might miss, while the Open University has developed online training schemes.
The moves are highlighted in a new report published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which looks into how universities are fulfilling the Government’s anti-radicalisation Prevent policy.
The UK Government's universities minister Jo Johnson said: “There has never been a more important time for us to come together to tackle the dangers of radicalisation and ensure extremist ideologies are robustly challenged.
“Universities play an important role in safeguarding students from radicalisation, but at the same time, protecting freedom of speech.”