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The Prime Minister’s Extremism Taskforce has reported on ways to tackle extremism and radicalisation in the UK.
The taskforce (of Coalition Government ministers) was set up in summer 2013. Its proposals include:
considering if there is a case for new civil powers, similar to the new anti-social behaviour powers, to target the behaviours extremists use to radicalise others;
considering if there is a case for new types of order to ban groups which seek to undermine democracy or use hate speech, when necessary to protect the public or prevent crime and disorder;
consulting on new legislation to strengthen the powers of the Charity Commission (because the report makes the point that some ‘extremist groups target charities and seek to exploit and benefit from charitable status’);
working with internet companies to restrict access to terrorist material online (hosted overseas but illegal under UK law);
improving the process for the public to report extremist content online; and
making delivery of the Channel programme, which supports individuals at risk of being radicalised, a legal requirement in England and Wales
ensuring prisoners who have demonstrated extremist views in prison receive intervention and support on release.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This summer we saw events that shocked the nation with the horrific killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich and murder of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham. These tragedies were a wakeup call for government and wider society to take action to confront extremism in all its forms, whether in our communities, schools, prisons, Islamic centres or universities.
“I have been absolutely clear that this is not something we should be afraid to address for fear of cultural sensitivities. We have already put in place some of the toughest terrorism prevention controls in the democratic world, but we must work harder to defeat the radical views which lead some people to embrace violence. The taskforce I set up has proposed a broad range of measures to counter the extremist narrative and I will make sure they are taken forward.”
To read the nine-page report in full which also covers prisons, schools and universities, visit the gov.uk website.
The document admits the UK has ‘an environment conducive to radicalisation in some mosques and Islamic centres, universities and prisons’. On unis, the document says: “Universities must take seriously their responsibility to deny extremist speakers a platform.”
As for how to prevent radicalisation, the document admits: “There are some [unnamed] towns and cities in the UK where extremism is of particular concern. The people on the front line who we rely on to work with communities to tackle extremism must have the full support of their local authority. This is not always the case.”