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Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

The Conservative Party has unveiled bold plans to invest a substantial £5 million in building a national network of grassroots organisations that will challenge all forms of extremist ideology. In fact, the announcement was made immediately prior to publication of the Government’s all-new Counter-Extremism Strategy.

At the very heart of that Counter-Extremism Strategy is a new partnership approach configured to strengthen community resilience and promote a coalition that will not be afraid to speak out against – and ultimately defeat – extremism.

For this financial year, the new tranche of funding will be dedicated towards providing direct and in-kind practical support for groups such that they can expand the reach and scale of their work on confronting extremism in tandem with the development of “credible alternative narratives” to the dangerous views propagated by extremists. The former could well include structured training on social media.

“We need to systematically confront and challenge extremism and the ideologies that underpin it,” explained Prime Minister David Cameron, “in turn exposing the lies and destructive consequences it leaves in its wake. We must stop extremism at its start by preventing seeds of hatred from even being planted in people’s minds and cutting off any oxygen for growth.”

The Prime Minister continued: “The Counter-Extremism Strategy sets out our new approach to tackle this poison, vigorously counter the ideology that underpins it, take on the violent and non-violent parts of the creed, actively support the mainstream voices such that they might rise above those of the extremists and tackle the segregation and feelings of alienation that can help provide fertile ground for extremism to take root.”

Extremists are increasingly using the Internet to inspire radicalisers into grooming new recruits through online peer-to-peer relationships. Indeed, the past 18 months have witnessed a significant change in the way that extremists use the online medium to target their radical ideology directly at young minds.

According to recent research conducted by the Quilliam Foundation, ISIL produces no less than 38 unique pieces of ‘high quality propaganda’ every day which is then disseminated widely by a network of thousands of supporters and sympathisers spread all over the world.

That being so, the Counter-Extremism Strategy determines to go further in developing the existing partnership between industry, the police service and Government aimed at omitting terrorist and extremist material within the online space.

Co-operation to take down such harmful terrorist and extremist content has significantly improved in recent years. By way of example, the Metropolitan Police Service’s Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has now removed over 110,000 pieces of extremist propaganda since 2010 and over 38,000 items so far this year, with referrals from members of the public rising by 400% between the end of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

Feeding on the vulnerable, extremist ideologies purport to offer a sense of belonging and purpose. We must summon all of our powers to defeat their erroneous and damaging narrative.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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