The public sector's response to extremism is still too disjointed

By Tracie Evans | 06 June 2017
  • Tracie Evans

My heart hurts to think of those affected by the events in London last weekend and for those young people in Manchester and how what should have been a night of their lives, turned into a night they will remember for all the wrong reasons. The consequences of these heinous events is pervasive for us all.

We will have reviewed and increased our security arrangements and, with elections on the horizon, even more care will be taken to ensure our residents’ safety.

Within hours of the Manchester attack, there was an increased presence of armed police and army officers with a noticeable number of cars being stopped and searched.

Our engagement with our communities has been heightened as we try to create a sense of calm against a backdrop of increased vigilance of people and of packages left in public.

This extra activity comes at a price and, within the context of our stretched budgets, my thoughts turn to how to resource community engagement and resident awareness activity to minimise the ability of these terrible events to devastate our lives.

The answer should be to work harder to pool all council, schools, police, NHS mental health and community resources, and create mechanisms to more quickly identify and deal with potentially dangerous behaviours.

Between us, we are undertaking activities to find solutions, but those activities are still disjointed.

We have a police force that is doing its best to chase leads and a community that is doing what they have been asked to provide – information about people and events that concern them.

As councils we are engaging as much as possible with our communities. NHS colleagues are desperately trying to create mental health pathways that work.

While prevention actions are important for the longer term, right now we need shorter-term joint actions to obtain positive and safer outcomes for our communities.

It’s time to work harder at joining up our people and processes and funding the resources we need to make a difference.

Tracie Evans is chief operating officer at Haringey LBC

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