Manchester police to train housing staff to spot tenants vulnerable to radicalisation

Counter-terrorism police are launching a nationwide scheme to train front line housing employees to combat violent extremism, according to the Inside Housing website.

Officers from the north west counter-terrorism unit of the Greater Manchester Police have been working on a pilot with a landlord and a major contractor to train housing professionals in safeguarding vulnerable tenants from radicalisation.

GMP is now rolling out the scheme nationally, launching at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference in Manchester later this month. Under the scheme, prevention engagement officers visit landlords and educate staff.

Leigh-based 13,000-home Adactus has been working closely with the GMP over the past year educating the majority of its 625 staff so they are better equipped to spot potential threats when entering homes.

Mears Group has also trained its senior managers, team leaders and contract managers, and now plans to “cascade training down across the whole group” to repairs operatives.

GMP intends to train up more of its own staff, and then for colleagues at other police forces around the country to do the same thing. It is hoped landlords will then be able to develop in-house training.

DC Asif Khan, prevention engagement officer from the north west counter-terrorism unit at GMP, said several incidents in the past decade had involved people living in social housing and the aim was for landlords to standardise safeguarding training on violent extremism.

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“We have colleagues all around the country who do the same role, and they will be trained up in this. It will be a national package. This started with training police officers and it is slowly but surely being filtered down to front line staff in other sectors – so it is the culmination of many years’ work. We hope it will end up as front line professionals teaching other front line professionals.”

Paul Lees, chief executive of Adactus, said: “Terrorism is a threat that we are aware of and one that we take seriously. We feel we have a role to play in staying vigilant.”

Paula Law, business support manager at Mears Group, said: “It is first about protecting our own staff, and then also about protecting communities too on behalf of our clients.”

In recent years human rights organisations have accused the authorities of targeting and victimising the Muslim community under the guise of counter-terrorism.

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