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Agenda item 4 - CONTEST arrangements (North Yorkshire and York)

1  Purpose of the report

This report is in two parts, the first part aims to provide an overview of current arrangements. the second part focuses on the propose 'new' arrangements. Chief Executives are asked to consider the proposal and to share views on these to be included in the ongoing 'consultation'.
 

2          Background

2.1       North Yorkshire Police, with support from regional Counter Terrorism Policing leads have reviewed the current CONTEST partnership arrangements and have shared proposed changes to the structures.

2.2       CONTEST (The UK’s strategy for Countering Terrorism) was reviewed in June 2018. The framework includes four ‘P’ strands.

            Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism

            Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks

            Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack

            Prepare: to mitigate the impact of terrorist attack.

 

3          Part One- Current Local Partnership Arrangements

3.1       A CONTEST Strategic Board meets on a quarterly basis with the original membership including North Yorkshire Police and Counter Terrorism Policing (North East). The membership has been extended to include local authorities (North Yorkshire County Council and City of York Council), North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and military leads. This Board is chaired by Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Pannone.

3.2       The Prevent Partnership Board meets on a quarterly basis and is chaired by Paul Shevlin, Chief Executive, Craven District Council. The partnership is made up of a wide range of organisations across North Yorkshire and York, whose remit is to oversee, coordinate and monitor Prevent multi-agency work.

3.3       The statutory duty of Prevent has three objectives;

  • Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism
  • Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support
  • Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate.

3.4       Prevent sits within the non-criminal space. With agreement from the Safeguarding Partnerships (children and adults) Prevent referrals in North Yorkshire come via safeguarding routes. This provides a wider, holistic partnership approach, individuals identified as vulnerable to terrorism, will be vulnerable to a range of issues (e.g. mental health, drugs and alcohol, exploitation).

3.5       Counter Terrorism Local Profiles (CTLPs) There is a statutory requirement for the police to produce an annual local profile to identify the threat and vulnerability from terrorism and extremism. The CTLP 2020 was presented at April’s Prevent Partnership Board. The profile recognised that during 2020

    • There has been a slight increase in Prevent referrals despite national lockdowns
    • York continues to have the most referrals (33%)
    • In 2020, 41% of referrals came from the education sector
    • In 2020, 27% of referrals relate to Right Wing ideologies, and this remains the largest identifiable category
    • In 2020, 54% of referrals were for people aged 18 years or younger.

3.6       The Prevent Partnership Board identified and agreed a series of recommendations, which have been formulated into a multi-agency delivery plan.

  • Enhance our knowledge and continue to drive delivery against the threat of Right Wing Terrorism
  • Enhance our knowledge around on-line extremism, radicalisation and self-radicalisation
  • Raise public awareness through social media and online opportunities to encourage them to report concerns
  • Continue to work closely with military partners to fully understand the nature of any risk presented by the introduction of a ‘Super Garrison’
  • Increase alignment of multi-agency partnership work around hate crime and community cohesion, to multi-agency action of the Prevent Partnership Board and CONTEST
  • Targeted work in both youth and education settings to challenge Right Wing rhetoric
  • Embed Prevent in front-line workforce through effective training and use of Prevent champions.

3.7      Channel forms a key part of Prevent. Every ‘tier 1’ authority must have a Channel Panel and it must follow statutory guidance. The process adopts a multi-agency approach to identify and provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism. North Yorkshire’s Channel Panel continues to meet on a monthly basis. A good local case study is included in the CTLP.

3.8      Local Prevent Groups each district area currently has a multi-agency local Prevent group. The group aims to deliver the relevant sections of the action plan at a local level and feeds into the Prevent Partnership Board and CTLP processes.

 

4          Guidance from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT), Home Office

4.1       (The OSCT is now known as the Homeland Security Mission). During 2020 the OCST delivered a series of webinars to assist local authorities in delivering elements of the Prevent duty.

    • CTLPs and Risk Assessments
    • Effective Action Plans
    • Governance and Boards
    • Disrupting Extremists
    • Venue Hire and IT Policies
    • Prevent in Two Tier Areas

4.2       With regards to governance and boards, the Prevent duty guidance states, “Local authorities should establish or make use of an existing local multi-agency group to agree risk and co-ordinate Prevent activity. Many local authorities use Community Safety Partnerships but other multi-agency forums may be appropriate.”
“We expect local multi-agency arrangements to be put in place to effectively monitor the impact of Prevent work.”

 

5          Part Two- Partnership Proposals

5.1       At April’s Prevent Partnership Board, North Yorkshire Police presented a proposal regarding CONTEST arrangements. This proposal includes

    • A multi-agency CONTEST Board (Gold) strategic oversight and management of 4 P’s
    • Three ‘local’ CONTEST groups (Silver) local delivery groups across the 4 P’s. Including partners from a range of agencies. This will need to include a review of membership and include agencies that do not currently link within the Prevent arrangements (e.g. highways, utility companies). The geography is based on the 3 police command areas. (1. Scarborough and Ryedale 2. York and Selby 3. Hambleton, Richmondshire, Craven and Harrogate)
    • Task and finish groups, when required (Bronze).

5.2       A number of conversations, discussions have taken place on the proposed CONTEST multi-agency arrangements. Tony Quinn (Community Cohesion Officer, North Yorkshire County Council) has linked in with local leads and had specific discussions with district community safety leads across the county and the Head of Community Safety, City of York Council.

5.3       In line with the Protect duty consultation, there is a recognition that a review of arrangements needs to take place.

5.4       In preparation for the Prevent Partnership Board (26th July 2021), all partners were asked to internally ‘review’ the proposals.

5.5       A series of questions have been developed, that need to be considered alongside any decision around partnership arrangements.

    • How do we ensure strategically that all partners are ‘bought’ into changes that may need to happen? (Protect duty)
    • How do we ensure that partnership arrangements, fulfil the requirements of the duties (Prevent and Protect)? That none of the P’s become lost and there is equal accountability across all areas
    • How do we ensure the meetings deliver on local issues, but adhere to one overarching strategy? Some agencies cover a large geographical area
    • How do we ensure that we do not make the multi-agency partnership landscape too complicated? Allowing time in arrangements for development around multi-agency action
    • The leads around Prevent (safeguarding) and different to those that have the knowledge and understanding around Protect and Prepare.
    • How do we ensure that the right people are in the right meeting, taking appropriate action and accountability?

These questions were presented at the current CONTEST strategic Board on the 26th May 2021, and it was agreed that they will considered within any ‘internal’ police discussions, and they await the decision from the Prevent Partnership Board.

6          Recommendations

6.1       For chief executives to consider the content of this report and to identify areas that can be included within the ‘consultation’.