Thursday 19 Dec 2013
In an interview to be screened in the BBC Two series Generation Jihad, the first episode of which is to be screened tonight, Sir Norman Bettison, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, says that while he is conscious that there is a fine line between winning the support of the Muslim community and alienating it, there is also a need for the community to work much more closely with the police to provide information and help identify would-be jihadis.
Sir Norman says: "I'm looking for the community to work much more closely with the police in identifying young people that they have concerns about in terms of the people that they're mixing with, the sort of websites that they're going onto and the material that they're reading. Now that information can only come from the community itself."
When asked if the Muslim community could do more to help identify potential terrorists in its midst, he says: "I think we have to be alert and conscious of the risk that's ever present and prepared to interdict and prepared to share information."
He adds: "So the community as a whole could do more and the Muslim community as a part of that, yes."
Ratna Lachman, Director of JUST West Yorkshire – a project that promote racial justice, human rights and equality in the area – expressed concern that, unless Sir Norman had evidence, he might be tarring "an entire community with a brush of non-cooperation".
Sir Norman is the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire and the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) representative with responsibility for the government's Prevent policy designed to counter violent extremism.
West Yorkshire is where three of the 7/7 bombers came from and is home to Hamaad Munshi, Britain's youngest convicted terrorist.
Sir Norman's prognosis for the future is that Generation Jihad is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
"I think it's a generation of treatment to prevent the infection spreading and I think that will take us probably 20 years," he says.
Any use of information in this release must credit BBC Two's Generation Jihad.
Peter Taylor's new three-part series, Generation Jihad, begins Monday 8 February at 9.00pm on BBC Two.
Taylor investigates the terrorist threat from young Muslim extremists radicalised on the internet. Following the attempt to bomb an airliner over Detroit on Christmas day this landmark three part series looks at the angry young men of Generation Jihad who have turned their backs on the country where they were born.
Although they represent a tiny minority of the Muslim community they now constitute the single biggest threat to our national security.
Peter Taylor examines where Generation Jihad has come from, he investigates the networks they have formed across the English-speaking world and asks, what can we do to stop them?
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