LGA - Queen's Speech: Councils respond to Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill

18 May 2016 07:09 PM

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, responded to the Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill announced in the Queen's Speech, which includes plans to introduce extremism disruption orders to restrict those trying to radicalise young people, banning orders for extremist organisations which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech in public places, and powers for councils to close down premises used to support extremism

"Councils have built up considerable experience in dealing with extremism and the impact of extremist activity on their communities.

"Local authorities now need help with the resources they need to build local capacity to counter extremist activity.

"With the Prevent Duty introduced last year, the Counter-Extremism Strategy published last October and the Louise Casey review about integration on-going, councils are working with a number of different government departments and Whitehall also needs to join up and bring together these different programmes in a way that works better for local authorities. 

"Further legal powers will help to tackle some extremist individuals and organisations and with protecting communities from them. However, on their own they aren't the solution and more resources and better guidance is also needed.

"Preventing people from being radicalised and engaging in extremist activity means understanding and building relations with communities, and a better understanding of the reasons why some people are vulnerable to radicalisation and what can be done to make them more resilient to extremist views and propaganda. 

"This requires sustained work over time by councils working with schools, police and local communities who know and understand the areas they are working in, and have the freedom and flexibility to respond to local circumstances."