Council Outlines Anti-Terrorism Activities

Council Chamber at the Old Wesleyan Chapel

Violent extremists are now more likely to be white, working class, and living in rural areas.

That was the message heard by members of the Council’s Religious Education Committee, SACRE, during a presentation about delivery of the Government’s ‘Prevent’ anti-terrorism strategy in Scilly.

The Home Office has recently tasked every local authority with delivering anti-terrorism measures.

The Council’s Joel Williams said he was working closely with the Community Safety Partnership, a group bringing together various local agencies including the Police, to formulate a strategy for our Islands.

Joel said, contrary to the established view, extremism was a recognised problem in the southwest.

Between January 2011 and March 2012, Devon and Cornwall Police dealt with 39 counter terrorism incidents, 9 of them in Cornwall. In 2008, Nicky Reilly, a 22 year old Muslim convert from Plymouth, pleaded guilty to launching a failed suicide attack on the Giraffe cafe in Exeter.

Joel said mental health issues were common to many of those cases and the age range was predominantly 23-32, raising questions about the co-ordination between children’s and adult’s services.

Those cases also showed that information was often being accessed through the internet and there were cases of young people being groomed on-line before being taken out of the county.

And while muslim extremism is still the focus of anti-terrorist activity, there was an increased concern about right wing extremism and animal rights activists in our region.

Joel says on of the key activities being developed on Scilly is a series of workshops to bring together members of staff from the school, local authority and emergency services. He said internet-based nature of some terrorist activity meant priority should also be given to school IT staff.

Joel said they don’t want to scare young people about extremism and have discussed this recently with Ofsted.

He felt the 999 Week, which is organised by local emergency services, is an effective way to deliver these messages on Scilly.