Crime Reduction

05.06.18

Local authorities are not MI5, warns LGA

Councils should not be treated as a replacement for the security services and police, the LGA has warned.

The comments come in response to the government’s publication of the updated counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST.

A review of the strategy was prompted last year after terror attacks in London and Manchester.

Central to the new strategy is a working partnership at international, national and local level, between the government, agencies, the private sector and communities.

Delivering his first keynote speech on security, home secretary Sajid Javid told an audience of community leaders, academics and counter-terrorism experts that his first priority will always be to keep the country safe, calling the threat from terrorism “one of the starkest we face.”

He explained: “As the threat evolves so must our response. Ultimately, our approach is about ensuring that there are no safe spaces for terrorists to operate – internationally, in the UK or online.”

New legislation will underpin the counter-terrorism strategy to enable the police and security services to disrupt terrorist threats earlier, which will see existing terrorism offences updated for the digital age and to reflect contemporary patterns of radicalisation.

It will also see the sentencing framework for terrorism strengthened, increasing the maximum penalty for certain offences so that the punishment reflects the crime and better prevents reoffending, as well as enabling further terror offences committed overseas to be prosecuted in UK courts.

In response to the recommendations of MI5 and the counter-terrorism police’s Operational Improvement Review into the 2017 terror attacks, overseen by David Anderson, new multi-agency approaches will involve MI5 and the police using and sharing information more widely and working with partners such as local authorities to improve the understanding of those at risk of involvement in terrorism.

Through Prevent, the government, local authorities, police and communities will continue to safeguard and support vulnerable people from the risk of being drawn into terrorism.

However, Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s safer and stronger communities board, warned that the responsibility of preventing terrorism should remain with the police and security services.

“Councils are committed to safeguarding communities by tackling extremism and already look for tell-tale signs of people at risk of radicalisation and work with the police and other agencies to protect people,” he said.

He said that while the engagement of local authorities with society and working with community groups helps to reduce the risk of young people being radicalised, it is extremely complex and more detail on the CONTEST initiative is needed.

“Information sharing could be a positive step, but what is crucial is that councils are not treated as a replacement for the expertise and resources of the security services and police. Local authorities are not MI5 and it’s essential that the police and security services lead on responding to and acting on any threats.

“We will continue to engage with government to ensure residents are kept safe and that local authorities can play their role in supporting and protecting communities,” he added.

Blackburn also called for proper long-term funding for councils to tackle radicalisation.

Top image: JohnnyGreig

 

Enjoying PSE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

22/05/2019 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has announced a job-share partnership between the local county council and CCG to lead the STP. Iain MacBea... more >
Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

22/05/2019Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

Councils in England face a funding black hole of over £50bn across the next six years, according to a new report warning that local authori... more >
Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

15/05/2019Government backs Northamptonshire unitary authorities with one-year delay

The government has formally approved the formation of two new unitary councils in Northamptonshire in 2021, a year later than first planned, also... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough,... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open — and this needs to happen as soon as possible. The fire at Grenfell Tower has been an unimaginable tragedy and it continues to be a hu... more > more last word articles >
 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

22/05/2019 County council director and CCG CEO to lead STP in joint-role

Hertfordshire and West Essex STP has announced a job-share partnership between the local county council and CCG to lead the STP. Iain MacBeath, the director of adult social care services at ... more >
Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

22/05/2019Even ‘draconian cuts won’t be enough’ as councils face £50bn funding blackhole

Councils in England face a funding black hole of over £50bn across the next six years, according to a new report warning that local authorities will soon be forced to resort to providing th... more >

the raven's daily blog

Empower your reader, choose print

07/05/2019Empower your reader, choose print

We are on a digital rollercoaster, swirling and twirling through a variety of different online advertising platforms – have we forgotten about traditional marketing platforms such as print? The UK is currently the global leader in advertising, generating £6 for every £1 spent on advertising to the economy. This year, UK ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Cities as places of opportunity

29/04/2019Cities as places of opportunity

Andrew Carter, chief executive of Centre for Cities, asks: if cities are places of opportunity for the low skilled, why are so many struggling? ... more >
Shaping healthy places with district councils

29/04/2019Shaping healthy places with district councils

District councils are achieving excellent outcomes by shifting health solutions from clinical settings to community ones. They have a significant... more >
The road more taken: delivering future connectivity and mobility

29/04/2019The road more taken: delivering future connectivity and mobility

Localis chief executive Jonathan Werran outlines the challenges to delivering future connectivity and mobility, and asks what policy shifts to ho... more >
The state of the Spring Statement

29/04/2019The state of the Spring Statement

Ben Zaranko, research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), analyses this year’s Spring Statement and looks ahead to the Spe... more >

interviews

Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News