The UK’s security minister visited Kirklees to talk about how to safeguard people from being drawn into terrorism.
Ben Wallace MP visited Dewsbury and spoke to mothers about how to prevent children being radicalised into violent extremism.
Speaking to the Examiner, the minister acknowledged Kirklees’ previous link to terrorism, and he spoke about why the far right voice seems to be growing.
Huddersfield bomber Jermaine Lindsay caused the London bombings highest death toll while last year Dewsbury teens fled to Syria.
Mr Wallace, a Lancashire MP, said: “The issue of radicalisation isn’t unique to Kirklees, it’s a problem across the country. We know unfortunately there are people in parts of Yorkshire who have taken that step and gone off to fight in Syria.
“What we are doing is trying to prevent it from happening. I recognise it’s not me in Whitehall talking about it, nor me as a Lancashire MP telling Yorkshire what to do. It has to come from the community.
“From my visit to Dewsbury I’ve learned that people are working together, the local authority has a very good co-ordinator and they’re working with the police.
“They recognise schools and the medical profession can help identify people who are vulnerable to being exploited and they’re doing something about it.
“The mothers reinforced my view that they don’t want their children going off to Syria. Mothers can understand their child’s frustrations, they can show their child there is an alternative to the trick used by groomers who claim they’re the true voice and should be listened to.”
He said people of different faiths were represented at the meeting.
The government’s Prevent strategy identifies and safeguards vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism. It does not feature Kirklees among the 25 priority areas, so does his visit mean Kirklees is now a priority?
Mr Wallace said: “There isn’t a list as such, we take a broader approach than to pick one or two areas. We identify where there is a need.
“There is a generation who are vulnerable because of the way they live in a digital world. It could be someone gets hold of their profiles, spots their weaknesses and seeks to exploit them.
“If we are worried about our children we need to talk to them, their friends or teachers. We all have a role to play and a duty to safeguard people. They don’t have to pick up the phone to the Home Office.”
Thomas Mair, the killer of Jo Cox MP, had links to extreme far right groups.
Asked about the voice of the Far Right, Mr Wallace said: “It’s always been there, they’ve just done what everyone else has done and used the internet to radicalise people and get them to commit themselves to carrying out violence.”