MI5 and the police will share information with councils about the threat of violent extremism in their areas, under pilots announced in the government’s updated counter-terrorism strategy today.
Home secretary Sajid Javid said the updated CONTEST strategy would be “more agile, flexible and co-ordinated approach” to preventing, detecting and disrupting terrorist attacks.
The multi-agency arrangements, which include government departments, devolved administrations and local authorities, will be piloted in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
The strategy says: “By alerting a greater number of agencies with better information about the local threat, we will improve the breadth and scale of interventions that help safeguard those at risk of radicalisation and ensure those who have supported or been involved in terrorist-related activities disengage.”
Responding to the strategy, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board Simon Blackburn (Lab) said more detail on the arrangements was required.
“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,” he said. “Local authorities are not MI5 and it’s essential that the police and security services lead on responding to and acting on any threats.”