Current Affairs

Communities secretary promises new funding to tackle white supremacists

Jessica Geen December 9, 2009
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Communities secretary John Denham yesterday promised £5 million of funding for police and local councils to tackle threats from white supremacists.

Speaking in Bimingham, he warned that efforts to tackle terrorism should not focus purely on Islamist groups and should also take into account groups such as neo-Nazis.

He said: “It is important that local Muslim communities do not feel they are being singled out if other forms of extremism are a threat in the area.”

White extremists frequently pose a threat to gays and lesbians, along with ethnic minorities.

In 1999, nail bomber David Copeland killed three people in a gay bar in Soho. He had also targeted ethnic minorities.

In September, David Lewington was jailed for at least six years after being charged with terrorism offences. Materials found at his home suggested he hoped to emulate Copeland.

Last month, the country’s most senior anti-terror officer assistant commissioner John Yates told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that police were seeing a rise in far-right extremism.

He said: “What we have seen in recent years is a growth around some of the far-right extremism movements.

“Mostly they tend to be less organised, you tend to see the concept of the lone wolf.

“There have been several manifestations of that in past months and several arrests.

“That is something we take extremely seriously and we make sure we balance our resources to deal with that threat.”

The Home Office has developed several strategies to deal with extremism from both Islamist and far-right sources.

The Prevent strategy deals with extremism among Muslim communities through local councils, schools, community groups and police, while another programme, called Channel, is aimed at dissuading young people from joining far-right white supremacist groups.

Denham addressed 1,000 Prevent workers yesterday and said the programme had been hampered by a “lack of clarity”.

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