Statement from West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner 10 years on from 7/7 (7 Jul 2015)

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson: "I can remember the tragic events of 7 July, 2005 very clearly as news started to come in through the various media channels - I was the Chair of the Police Authority at the time and I watched and heard in horror as the chain of events started to unfold.

A few days later the then Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, the late Colin Cramphorn, rang me at the crack of dawn to say that the security services and the MET counter terrorist police were working with WYP and were about to carry out a number of raids on addresses in West Yorkshire - of course sadly we know the rest. It seemed all quite surreal that such a national atrocity was being linked back to some of our communities here in West Yorkshire.

Since that difficult time, events did and have moved on and I know our communities are strong and resilient, that is my overwhelming personal experience having visited them many times. Yes there are still problems and recent reports in the media illustrate that - we must not be complacent - but I am always heartened at how communities and partners across West Yorkshire continue to work together to jointly tackle the threat of intolerance, extremism and radicalization. It is from within our communities and by working together collectively from the bottom up that such answers to preventing further atrocities lies.

Police, security services and other statutory organisations work incredibly hard to tackle the threat of extremism and in many ways have been successful since 2005 with the prevention of many terrorist incidents and the establishment of a national counter terrorist police network embedded within the regions. However, in these times of ever shrinking resources, there is only so much they are able to do. Currently the threat level from extremist terrorism remains at severe in the UK which indicates that an attack is highly likely.

As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am doing what I can with others to confront those voices that, if left unchallenged, can help to spread radicalization amongst vulnerable individuals. My office is in the process of developing an online package called Community Voices which is just that - a community engagement voice. Tackling radicalisation needs to come from those credible voices within the community and the Community Voices on-line platform will aim to help those who want to make a difference to do just that, raising awareness and critical thinking in providing a counter narrative to the likes of ISIS and other extreme and brutal ideologies.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to remember all the victims and their families who lost their lives or saw their lives changed forever during the terrible events a decade ago this week, one can only be inspired and moved by their bravery and actions since."

 

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