After 37 murders in London during the first three months of 2018, and the 2017 UK terrorist attacks by religious extremists, concerned commentary on this state of affairs emerged in the media. This commentary questioned the Conservative Government cuts (LGA,2015) to public spending, including the Police, and posited this as a possible cause for the spike in violence (BBC, April 2018). Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, questioned Prime Minister Theresa May on this very issue in parliament on 7 February 2018 (New Statesman, 2018).At this point, it is worth quoting the words of Kevin Campbell, former London gang member, who commented that “When there are less police officers on the street, ….. members of gangs see this as a window of opportunity”. (BBC,4 April 2018) This was followed by a series of stories in the media investigating local groups and their reaction to the murders. Five of these media stories have been selected for analysis in this paper. All referred to the need for collaborative working between communities and statutory agencies involved in community safety. Moreover, after the London terrorist attacks in 2017 it is again notable that politicians and individual commentators remarked on the pressing need for local partnership working in England (BBC, 5 June 2017; Faith Matters 2017; Brendan Cox 19 June 2017). It should not be a surprise to those working in communities that through local engagement with people, information and intelligence about violence and radicalisation can be accessed and shared relating. But the most serious concern is that the early warning signs that can lead to violence and active terrorism of the kind witnessed in the 2017 attacks (UNISON 2016) are being missed, and there are clear causative factors. This paper examines the reasons why local information about crime, shared through multi-agency partnerships and coalitions, is important to policing and community safety. The paper examines policing and community safety policy changes in the UK, and their effects upon local multi agency partnership arrangements since 2010. The paper goes on to present findings about the absolute significance of shared information in detecting violent intent and radicalisation. The third part of the paper considers the question of how involved agencies can address ongoing violence and extremism in communities through local intelligence gleaned through partnership working and other means.
Sue Roberts, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Stream: Humanities - Political Science, Politics
This paper is part of the ECAH2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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