A NEW task force is to be created in Leeds to tackle extremism, with the 7/7 London bombings having had a “significant impact” on Leeds, a new report reveals.
Agencies are to expand on their existing work to safeguard children and adults to divert them away from being drawn into extremist activity, after a report identified a range of threats, both nationally and locally, which have the potential to divide communities in Leeds.
More than 330 people have been convicted of terrorism-related offences nationwide between September 2001 and March 2012. Leeds City Council, alongside social services, children’s services and offender management, is seeking to identify those at risk of being drawn into terrorism.
A report to the authority’s Safer and Stronger Communities scrutiny board reveals how the city is tackling extremism as part of the Government’s anti-extremism project Prevent.
It claims Leeds is one of only a few national cities to have advanced plans to cope with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. A new task force will receive regular updates about how local tensions and risks are being managed and minimised.
The report said: “The events of the July 2005 bombings have had a significant impact on Leeds.
“We are encountering a range of threats, nationally and locally, that have the potential to divide communities in Leeds leading to unrest, anxieties and local grievances. The importance of managing such issues, especially during times of austerity, cannot be overstated.”