New Prevent counter-terrorism action plan launched in Birmingham
Published by Kerrie Beck for Longhurst Group in Communities and also in Housing, Local Government
Chief Superintendent, Surjeet Manku of West Midlands Police was among the speakers at the launch of a new ‘Prevent’ action plan for Birmingham, part of the government strategy against the spread of extremism.
The Prevent Conference was organised in partnership with Hall Green Prevent Working Group – which consists of a number of local service providers: Friendship Care and Housing (Friendship), Midland Heart Housing Association, West Midlands Fire Service, Police and Birmingham City Council Youth Service.
The event was held to launch the local action plan for Hall Green District and raise awareness of national and regional Prevent strategies. Held at the Sparkbrook Community and Health Centre, in an area where there have been a number of counter terrorism arrests, it was attended by around 60 front line statutory workers and members of the local community.
Nigel Brookhouse, Director of local charity Narthex Sparkhill, said: "The event was powerful, professionally done and I have learnt a huge amount about vulnerabilities to extremism.”
Thariq Khaliq, of Birmingham’s Youth Offending Team, agreed. He added: "I have been to many Prevent events and I would say this was by far the best one I have attended."
Chief Superintendent Surjeet Manku was joined on the day by other speakers including:
- PC Brendan O’Hare of West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit
- Waqar Ahmed (Birmingham City Council’s lead officer for Prevent)
- Tracey Quirk, Friendship’s Head of Community Regeneration and Chair of the Prevent Group
- A former BNP member and former member of an Al Qaeda influenced group who both spoke of their experiences, how they came to change their views and the work they now do against extremism and racism.
PC Salma Jabeen joined PC O’Hare to present Birmingham’s ‘threat map’ and discuss local arrests and operations, giving the delegates an opportunity to ask questions and talk about cases which may have affected them or the wider community.
In the afternoon a small group of delegates attended a theatre workshop by The Playhouse Theatre Company. Entitled Tapestry, it explores issues around extremist ideology (such as far right and Al Qaeda influences). The production encourages young people to explore and discuss issues around extremism in an open way, so that they can challenge these views. The workshop is going to be delivered to schools and youth centres across the area.