Plan pitches housing into anti-terror frontline

Social housing providers are pitched into the anti-terror frontline by a plan that puts extremists, including those returning from Syria, into taxpayer-funded homes.

Reports have The Home Office looking at a new strategy to reintegrate extremists who, depending on assessment, could take priority on housing waiting lists.

Under pilot schemes, police and local authorities would assess extremists formerly investigated as suspects by the security services to see what danger they pose and what it would take to help reintegrate them.

Extremists who had nowhere suitable to live could be put in social housing by the local council and have their rent paid if necessary.

Up to 20,000 extremists who have been previously investigated by MI5 will be targeted in the scheme called Operation Constrain.

Whitehall sources have confirmed the scheme could also apply to Britons returning from Islamic State group territory in Syria.

Under the existing de-radicalisation programme Prevent, teachers, doctors and social workers can refer people they fear may turn to extremism.

Constrain, as initially outlined, sees police and social workers contacting people already on MI5’s databases to assess what danger they pose to society and what it would take to integrate them into society.

In hotspots for terror suspects, police will be handed details of potential terrorists by counter terrorism services and will visit them in person.

A local panel would suggest what interventions could work.

If those listed have no suitable accommodation, the housing department of the relevant council can work towards accessing social housing- as a priority - with rent payments covered.

Such interventions are seen as assisting police and Prevent teams being able to send back assessments about the risk the extremists pose.

The Home Office said: “We are reviewing our counter-terrorism strategy to make sure we respond to the evolving threat in the most effective way we can.”

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