Richmondshire District Council

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Richmondshire District Council is the local authority for the Richmondshire District.

Prevent Policy

'Safer Richmondshire' is the 'delivery team' for the government's controversial Prevent strategy in Richmondshire, which imposes staff in all public sector bodies to have a 'statutory duty' to prevent people from becoming 'drawn into terrorism'. This team also delivers the ‘prevent’ strategy to the wider community. [1]

Linking anti-fracking protestors with extremists

Despite the North Yorkshire Police chief's statement on 6 December 2016 [2], Richmondshire's delivery team appears to have considered anti-fracking protests as a potential ‘extremism’ or ‘terrorism’ risk since July 2015. 'Safer Richmondshire' briefed its own council scrutiny committee on details of current 'threats' in 2015:

'The community safety local delivery team which works with police, council and other bodies, gave a briefing to local councillors which included details of the threats currently facing us. Under the Home Office’s Prevent initiative, local areas are tasked with identifying people ‘at risk of radicalisation of extremism, terrorism or criminal activity. Talking through the issues – which included the expansion of the Garrison personnel, activity of extreme right wing groups and anti-fracking protests '.

Richmondshire's approach is at odds with that of the Home Office, which told the Yorkshire Evening Post on 2 December 2016 and the i newspaper on 6 December 2016 that:

'Prevent is about safeguarding people at risk from being drawn into terrorism - support for anti-fracking is not an indicator of vulnerability.'

Richmondshire in North Yorkshire has numerous Petroleum Exploration and Development License (PEDL) blocks awarded to fracking firms INEOS and Igas in late 2015. Fracking plans for the region have faced overwhelming opposition from local people, NGOs, parish councils, town councils and district councils. In May 2016 a large, peaceful rally in the town of Northallerton in Hambleton protested against fracking firm Third Energy’s application to frack at nearby Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. [1]

Richmondshire council's Prevent strategy launch event video

In July 2015 Richmondshire district council hosted an event to explain its ‘Prevent’ strategy to its scrutiny committee. The council’s community safety officer, Gina Allen, delivered the presentation, assisted by North Yorkshire Police.[1]

Seated beside two police staff, Allen discussed the 'terrorism threats' facing the district:

'A reasonably new one is around the fracking agenda, extreme anti-frackers, causing as much disruption as they possibly can is a potential threat going forward'. [3]

The ‘counter terrorism local profile questionnaire 2016’

In January 2016, Richmondshire District Council and North Yorkshire Police launched a questionnaire linking anti fracking protestors with the ‘extreme right wing’ and ‘issues relating to Syria and Iraq’. According to Safer Richmondshire's team the purpose of the questionnaire was to help develop a ‘Counter Terrorism Local Profile’. [4]They describe this as:

‘a document that is collated on behalf of both police and partners which describes the current risks, threats and vulnerabilities in relation to terrorism and violent extremism.’ [1]

The 2016 questionnaire includes a specific section on fracking and asks the community these three questions:

  • Is there any information regarding individuals or groups who are engaged in fracking protests which have the potential to become more radical and disruptive in nature?
  • Have there been any suspicious sightings around the proposed fracking areas within North Yorkshire?
  • Is there any information regarding protests to be held in the North Yorkshire?[4]

Contact

Website: http://www.richmondshire.gov.uk
Address: Richmondshire District Council
Mercury House
Station Road
Richmond
North Yorkshire
DL10 4JX
Phone: 01748 829100
Fax: 01748 826186
E-Mail: enquiries@richmondshire.gov.uk

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Russell Scott and Melissa Jones, Update: more documents show police, councils and schools labelling anti-fracking protestors as extremists, Spinwatch, 09 December 2016, accessed 12 December 2016.
  2. North Yorkshire Police response to concerns raised by anti-fracking campaigners, North Yorkshire Police, 6 December 2016, accessed 12 December 2016.
  3. richmondnoticeboard: Radicalisation. Richmondshire council's Prevent strategy launch event video, richmondnoticeboard, July 20 2015, accessed 12 December 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Safer Richmondshire COUNTER TERRORISM LOCAL PROFILE - CAN YOU HELP "It might be nothing but......", Richmondshire District Council, accessed 12 December 2016.