Far right extremists make up majority of anti-terror referrals, Telford councillors told
Far-right extremists account for more than four fifths of people referred to an anti-terrorism partnership, a senior local police officer has said.
Inspector Gary Wade sits on the panel that runs Channel, a support service designed to divert people away from potential terrorist behaviour and ideology.
He told Wellington Town Council that referral numbers are dropping, but “eighty to ninety per cent” of those it sees belong to the far right.
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion also said he had been “exceptionally disappointed” that the English Defence League had held demonstrations in the town in 2018 and 2019, but was encouraged by the “pathetic” attendance and the response of the community.
They were responding to a question from Councillor Lee Carter, who represents the College ward and is also a member of Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet.
He asked for their view of “the far right, racism, and those activities”.
Councillor Carter said: “I sense that there is an increase of these in Wellington, particularly given the history we have had with child sexual exploitation.”
Mr Campion said: “I agree with you. I’ve seen the impact on some of the crime here, and the issues you have had.”
He said hate crime victims report “very low” levels of satisfaction with the police, so the force’s work with them “should be done to a high quality”.
Inspector Wade told councillors Channel works with the local authority and other agencies to educate people referred to it.
“Eighty to ninety per cent are right-wing referrals rather than radicalism,” he said.
“I don’t think Brexit has particularly assisted that.”
The EDL held demonstrations in Wellington in May 2018 and April 2019.
Mr Campion said: “I have been exceptionally disappointed at the protests you have had here, but I am satisfied by the fact that the community response is what I wanted it to be, and their ability to muster any protest was pathetic.
“But, with Brexit, and other issues, I think there is less tolerance. People need to be bold and challenge things they might not have done before.”
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