In December 2017, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and SCN member, introduced a City Hall-wide Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Programme to run throughout 2018. The programme appointed six specialist advisers to provide independent expertise and feedback, among which was the Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s own CEO Sasha Havlicek.
Having undergone a stringent, ground-up review of existing counter extremism initiatives as well as the government’s Prevent agenda in London, the programme produced its report earlier last month.
Strong Cities Network features prominently (p131) in light of our highly successful Building Strong Cities Conference held in Birmingham in November 2018, drawing attention to the need for more city-to-city collaborations, both locally and internationally, as well as bringing together leading experts to encourage the exchange of knowledge, training opportunities and partnerships.
Key findings in the report include:
- Strengthening communities by building resilience to extremism– Two-thirds of Londoners see strong, integrated communities as effective in reducing the risk of extremism, hate crime and terrorism. Evidence indicates that government cuts to youth and community services and English language courses are putting at risk efforts to support all communities.
- Encouraging communities to stand up to extremism– Concerns were raised about a lack of support, resources and information which is holding back communities from standing up to extremism. As a result, the Mayor will deliver a new small grants programme to civil society groups delivering projects that are countering hateful ideologies.
- Safeguarding vulnerable Londoners from radicalisation – While 66 per cent of Londoners would want to tell the police if they were worried about someone being exploited towards extremism, research also showed 64 per cent would not know how to seek help from the authorities. The government, National Counter Terror police and local authorities must take action to address this awareness gap.
- Stopping the spread of extremist ideologies– research found a quarter of Londoners experienced or witnessed views promoting, endorsing or supporting extremism over the last 12 months. Tech companies and the government should reduce the ability of those intending to spread hate online and increase awareness for the public to refer content when it appears.
Above: ISD CEO Sasha Havlicek (centre-back) was among six specialist advisers appointed by the Mayor of London to provide independent expertise and feedback to his Countering Violent Extremism Programme.
Below: Both SCN and ISD were featured prominently in the Mayor’s report.