Terror alert: Updated strategy to fight extremism depends on community engagement


THREAT: (From left) London mayor Sadiq
Khan, Theresa May and Sajid Javid at an
event to mark the first anniversary of the
London Bridge attack last Sunday (3)
THREAT: (From left) London mayor Sadiq Khan, Theresa May and Sajid Javid at an event to mark the first anniversary of the London Bridge attack last Sunday (3)

by REHMAN CHISHTI Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham and Tory party vicechairman for communities LAST year, sickening acts of terrorism in the UK killed 36 people and changed the lives of many more. These are cowardly attempts to undermine our sense of security and sow divisions among our communities, but united we stand. Twice last year the threat to the UK was raised to critical, the highest level. Sadly the threat level re­mains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. Our security and intelligence agencies are, right now, handling more than 500 live operations. We are committed to doing everything possible to tackle terrorism in order to keep our families, communities and country safe. The prime minister commissioned a root and branch review of our counter-terrorism strategy to ensure that our re­sponse is second to none. The government has al­so delivered on its manifesto commitment of es­tablishing an extremism commissioner, who will work closely with community organisations. The prime minister spoke last year about there being too much tolerance of extremism in the UK. There is more we can, and must do, to confront ex­tremism. This sentiment was rightly echoed by our new home secretary Sajid Javid when he launched an updated counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, in his first keynote speech on security. CONTEST aims to respond to the scale of the threat and the speed with which plots are now un­folding and developing. It also incorporates the lessons learned from the attacks in 2017 and our responses to them. The result is a new, more agile, flexible and co-ordinated approach designed to better prevent, detect and disrupt terrorist attacks, and where attacks get through, to limit the impact and recover quickly. The revised approach will be underpinned by new legislation to enable the police and security services to…

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