PRISON chaplains fear intelligence gathering they do as part of the Prevent counter-terror strategy is putting their lives at risk.

One jailed extremist who has already threatened the lives of chaplains is Tanveer Ahmed convicted of a religiously-motivated murder. Ahmed is in the general population of Shotts prison where he mixes with other inmates.

The chaplains, who he has threatened, hope that keeping Ahmed in mainstream prison will help him reform.

However, we know that Ahmed has shown no remorse for a savage crime, has tried to radicalise other inmates, and he has previously used prison phones to tell followers in the outside world that he wants to see the elimination of enemies of Islam. His followers recorded his words and and posted them online.

The prison service did restrict phone use for a time, but he has been permitted to make calls again.

It is not illiberal to question the regime in which Ahmed is being kept, given the obvious level of threat he presents.

It’s not outwith the bounds of possibility that followers of Ahmed will be inspired to carry out copycat attacks and target prison staff.

The protection of life must be a priority. If Ahmed is a danger to others then why is he in general population? Why was he allowed to use phone calls to threaten others?

It is a sign of the decency of the chaplains that they wish to give him every opportunity to reform. His actions, however, raise fears that this is a man incapable of redemption.