Reports relating to the fact that no formal CONTEST board meetings have been staged in this municipal year are running in the media today.
The city council’s full response to the reports about CONTEST (a group which looks at counter-terrorism measures) is as follows:
A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: “Regrettably, the Contest Board has been cancelled twice this year. This was because of the unavailability of members of the board.
“However, councillors and officers have at all times continued to receive briefings from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) and the council’s Assistant Director for Equalities, Community Safety and Cohesion.
“These included a briefing for all elected members in September, held in partnership with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner. WMCTU gave a presentation on the threat and vulnerability to Birmingham. Unfortunately, only 12 councillors attended out of a possible 120. This was later raised at a scrutiny meeting by the elected members who did attend the WMCTU briefing.
“It was agreed that representatives from each of the political parties would ensure their members would attend if we reconvened the briefing session by WMCTU. This is expected to take place early in the New Year.
“There was also an officer briefing by WMCTU at the Prevent Executive Board in November, which was well attended.
“Since the Paris attack, several officers as well as relevant political members have been given additional briefings either by WMCTU or the council’s Assistant Director for Equalities, Community Safety and Cohesion.
“The Counter Terrorism Strategic Board has been rescheduled to January 2016.”