Denver delegation sees best of Birmingham

By on 26/05/2017 in Blog, Video News

Waqar Ahmed, Prevent Manager for Birmingham City Council, blogs about a fact-finding delegation that the city hosted from the USA over the last week (May 18-25)…

Last week the council welcomed a delegation from the US cities of Denver and Aurora who are visiting Birmingham to learn about our approach to challenging extremism in all its forms as part of a city exchange between the US and the UK.

Waqar Ahmed - Prevent Manager at Birmingham City Council

Waqar Ahmed – Prevent Manager at Birmingham City Council

The delegation received an official welcome on Thursday from the Lord Mayor, and on Friday received a presentation from West Midlands Police and the council’s Prevent team on our work delivering against the Prevent Duty.

This week the delegation met with civil society groups in the city that work to challenge extremism – and with the devastating events in Manchester the purpose of the visit was given more meaning and context.

Whilst we were all grieving and the questions about Prevent or countering violent extremism were being asked, the delegates were able to see first-hand how the city deals with these issues but also how the different elements of the national Counter terrorism strategy known as CONTEST come together.

Right in the middle of their visit the threat level was increased to Critical and armed officers were seen in the city centre.

I am pleased in a week that saw the best of Manchester, our communities were able to show the best of Birmingham.

I felt immense pride for our city and our civil society groups to hear that the delegates thought Birmingham was not just a great city but had great community spirit and a leading Prevent programme that they felt could help contribute to discussions in the US especially around partnership working and how to support and facilitate community-led programmes.

I am also pleased that Birmingham continues to be seen as a lead local partnership attracting interest not just nationally but internationally too and look forward to learning more from our American colleagues on their approaches to countering violent extremism when Birmingham delegates visit the US later in the year as part of the US Embassy-facilitated learning exchange.

You may have seen above this blog a video capturing the views and thoughts of the delegates who came to Birmingham. If you didn’t click on it, please do – it is great to hear from people who think so highly of what we are doing to keep Birmingham as safe a place as it can be.

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