Counter-terror plans under way

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 11, 2009

A counter-terrorism strategy aimed at encouraging Manchester’s Jewish community to report suspected terror activity is being developed. It may include opening terrorism reporting facilities locally in Jewish offices and a kosher bakery.

More than 30 people, including counter-terrorism police officers and community members, met at a closed meeting hosted by the Community Security Trust. It was organised by the Greater Manchester Police Authority, the watchdog which oversees policing in the region, as part of an ongoing consultation project to engage the public’s help.

CST’s Mark Gardner said that constructive discussion took place on “the best way to ensure people understand the need to report incidents. It will involve new police initiatives and existing mechanism.”

The recently launched hate-crime reporting centres in Brackman's kosher bakery, and the offices of Jewish welfare charity The Fed, could be upgraded to support anonymous terror reporting. The centres are only a mile away from where April’s anti-terror raids took place in Cheetham Hill.'

Salford community police inspector, Steve Bailey, said using the existing hate reporting centres was a potentially workable idea. “If it does come to fruition it would involve a simple form to fill out and training staff up to get the right information from members of the public.”

The meeting was also part of increased efforts by police to ensure the cooperation of faith communities after April’s failed anti-terror raids in Cheetham Hill angered its Muslim community. Twelve arrested men — 11 Pakistani nationals and one British Muslim — were released without charge.

GMPA Independent Member Christine McGawley added: “We look forward to continuing working in partnership with groups such as CST so terrorism can be dealt with in a way which balances public safety with the needs of all Greater Manchester communities.”

    Last updated: 4:49pm, July 22 2009