Mayor unveils new plans for countering violent extremism in London

20 December 2017
  • Work at City Hall to run throughout 2018
  • Consulting with experts, local authorities and communities from early 2018 to drive forward urgent improvements across London
  • Working to strengthen communities, safeguard the vulnerable and stop the spread of violent extremist ideologies with a London-specific tool-kit

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan today (Wednesday 20 December) unveils an ambitious new work programme designed to improve and renew efforts to tackle violent extremism – from both the far-right to the so-called Islamic State/Daesh - in the capital.

The programme, which will begin at City Hall early next year and run throughout 2018, will aim to empower Londoners to speak out against extremism to help keep London safe.

Sadiq is determined to do everything in his power to improve work that safeguards the vulnerable and roots out and stops the people who are spreading vile ideologies and promoting terror.

London continues to be the most diverse and inclusive city in the world, something of which the Mayor and Londoners are extremely proud. Yet across the city some communities remain marginalised, disengaged and unempowered, allowing the spread of hateful and violent ideologies with tragic consequences.

This year, the UK has seen an unprecedented shift in the threat of terrorism. London has suffered four tragic terrorist attacks at Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green, and many more have been thwarted.

The new work on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) will involve an in-depth consultation with experts, local authorities, stakeholders, women’s groups and all of the capital’s communities to identify a London-specific tool-kit of operational improvements that can be implemented as soon as possible to help counter hate crime and violent extremism.

The Mayor’s CVE programme will have three core objectives: working to strengthen London’s minority and marginalised communities, to safeguard the vulnerable and to stop the spread of extremist ideologies. It will work with specialist community engagement experts to ensure a full and frank assessment of existing counter-extremism programmes and the work of the government’s Prevent agenda in the capital.

The Mayor is determined that this new work will help to drive forward a more strategic and tailored approach to this extremely challenging and sensitive issue, and make a real difference in preventing violent extremism and keeping all Londoners safe.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is one of the most diverse and open cities in the world. But, as the experts have warned, we can’t escape the fact that the capital faces a growing threat from violent extremism. This year the UK has seen an unprecedented shift in the threat of terrorism and in London we have suffered attacks at Westminster, London Bridge, Finsbury Park and Parsons Green, and many more have been thwarted.

“I am determined to do everything in my power to improve the work that safeguards the vulnerable and roots out and stops the people who are spreading vile ideologies and promoting terror with such violent and tragic consequences.

“This means engaging with Londoners to see what more we can all do to strengthen, integrate and empower communities to speak out and challenge hate crime and extremist views. It means protecting vulnerable people who are at risk of extremism and sharing best practice. And it means a more strategic and tailored approach that can make a real difference in preventing extremism across the capital.”

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of National Counter Terrorism Policing, said: "Whilst it is less visible than this year's tragic events, I see evidence of determined efforts to radicalise the vulnerable in our communities. The Mayor's determination to bring extra weight to London's efforts to prevent the spread of violent extremist ideologies is very welcome."

The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme follows on from the Mayor’s work to improve London’s preparedness to respond to terrorism. One of his first acts in office was to launch an independent review of London’s preparedness to deal with a major terrorist incident, tackling the physical threat of terrorism. This Review, carried out by Lord Toby Harris, identified areas where improvements could be made, such as strengthening security along the Thames, making better use of CCTV in the midst of emergencies and making clearer the role of the Mayor of London in COBRA meetings. Two thirds of these recommendations are already in place – and more are in train.

The Mayor’s CVE work will be supported with a £400,000 investment from the Mayor, and similar work is underway in Manchester following the attack on Manchester Arena in May.

Work at City Hall will begin in January 2018 to provide initial advice to the London CONTEST Board for improvements in Summer 2018.

Notes to editors

  • Countering Violent Extremism work will involve the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and the Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement as well as staff from across City Hall.
  • The CVE work will be informed by leading experts, stakeholders and community group with three specialist expert advisers on strengthening communities, safeguarding the vulnerable and stopping the spread of extremist ideologies.
  • The CVE programme will work with the London Hate Crime Panel and the London CONTEST Board.
  • The London Hate Crime Panel was established by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and meets twice a year, working with partners to implement the Hate Crime Strategy.
  • The London CONTEST Board is chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, and aims to provide a strategic lead in addressing London’s threat, risks and vulnerabilities in relation to counter-terrorism. The board looks across the CONTEST strategy, encompassing Protect, Prepare, Pursue and Prevent. Read the London CONTEST board minutes.
  • The Government’s Prevent Agenda is one of four work strands which make up the government's counter-terrorism strategy – CONTEST. The aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism.
  • The purpose of the Mayor’s CVE group is to provide advice for operational improvements, therefore any early findings and quick deliverables will be conveyed at the earliest opportunity to the London CONTEST Board during the course of the work.