chapter  5
Waltham Forest
Into “the lion’s den”
WithCraig J.J. McCann
Pages 22

This chapter explores Waltham Forest’s role as a magnet to English Defence League activity given its association with Islamist extremism and how local practitioners within the police service, the local authority and wider partners have developed responses to the movement engaging in street protest activity in the borough. Supported by interviews with police officers and local authority representatives it provides unique insights into the tactics employed and explores the dynamics between local statutory agencies working in partnership in response to English Defence League activity. It concludes that Waltham Forest’s status as a Prevent Priority Area did not yield a more developed response to right wing extremism. Except for the Channel programme, there was very little evidence of targeted engagement with white working-class communities, the development of specific counter narratives or funding of projects to counter right-wing extremism in the borough. The priority, given the demographic makeup locally, from an extremism perspective, was around better engagement with Muslim communities especially against the historical backdrop of Islamist extremism on the borough.