HO plan to give jihadis council houses and support as strategy to combat terrorism


LONDON: Government plans to give jihadis council houses and othersupport as part of de-radicalisation programmes have been welcomed as “overdue” by terror experts. Right-wing commentators have branded the proposals, codenamed Operation Constrain, as “beyond sick” and accused authorities of seeking to bribe extremists.
But analysts say there is an urgent need to coordinate police, intelligence, mental health and social work for thousands of potential threats who are known to authorities but cannot be jailed, the Independent has reported.
They include the 20,000 extremists who have appeared on the security services’ radars but are not deemed to be a sufficient risk for round-the-clock surveillance – the category that Westminster attacker Khalid Masood, Manchester bomber Salman Abedi and London Bridge ringleader Khuram Butt fell into. The growing pool will be joined by former Isis members returning from the group’s shrinking territories in Syria and Iraq.Areport released last week said 425 men, women and children have already returned to the UK and the fate of more than 400 other jihadis who travelled to Isis strongholds remains unclear. A Home Office document seen by the Mail on Sunday outlines a strategy for known extremists who cannot be jailed to be given support and monitored as part of efforts to prevent further terror attacks. Operation Constrain, due to be implemented next year, will see targets moved to the front of council housing waiting lists if they have no suitable homes, helped into education, training or employment and referred to the NHS for mental health treatment. The scheme will be applied to selected people on MI5’s databases, who will be assessed and questioned by security services before a local panel decides on what intervention to launch. Police and officersfrom the Prevent counter-extremism programme will continue contact with the subjects and update risk assessments.
The number of extremists to be targeted remains unclear and it is thought that many of the 20,000 do not know they have come on security services’ radar. The Home Office would not confirm details of Operation Constrain butsaid a review of national counter-terror strategy was ongoing. A spokesperson added: “The Government is committed to doing everything possible to protect our communities from the threat of terrorism. “To respond to this threat, it is vital that we use all the means at our collective disposal to divert people away from terrorist-related activity and we are exploring the best ways of doing this with our partners.”