And that is despite a confidential police report identifying the city as one of the worst areas in the country for terrorism activity – where extremists are providing ‘facilitation and support’ to jihadists looking to train and fight abroad.
Alarmingly, the West Midlands Police dossier says the terror threat is ‘diversifying’, with the East of Birmingham most at risk from extremists.
The report, compiled in 2013 by former Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, said: “Investigation into facilitation and support activities consistently find the majority of cases in Birmingham. An analysis of current investigations showed that the terrorist threat in Birmingham is diversifying. It involves people of Pakistani, Somali (including third country migrants from Scandinavia and the Netherlands), Algerian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese, Libyan, Bangladeshi and Syrian origin.
“The findings are that the east of the city remains the area most vulnerable to violent extremism, with Bordesley Green, Saltley, Sparkhill/Sparkbrook and Small Heath being the most vulnerable.
“To a lesser extent, the west of the city continues to experience high levels of vulnerability (including Aston and Lozells and East Handsworth wards), particularly Handsworth.”
Birmingham City University student Yusuf Sarwar and unemployed Mohammed Ahmed, both aged 22, pleaded guilty to terror charges at Woolwich Crown Court.
The pair, who have yet to be sentenced, had travelled to Syria via Turkey in May 2013 and stayed for eight months with an al Qaeda linked group. They were caught when relatives called police after they found they had travelled to the war-torn country.
It is believed he travelled to Syria last year while on police bail over alleged violent disorder offences.
On Twitter he uses the alias Abu Hussain al-Britani and has posted photos of himself brandishing an assault rifle. He also tweeted a reference to the black flag associated with ISIS and said: “One day the flag of tawheed will fly over 10 Downing Street and the White House.”
Birmingham has seen other high-profile terrorist cases, including the jailing of city-born extremists like Irfan Naseer, Ashik Ali and Irfan Khalid, who led a suicide bomb plot that could have been ‘bigger than 7/7’.
Misuse of the internet continues to feature in police investigations in Birmingham, with the viewing and distribution of extremist material such as INSPIRE magazine. The use of charities as a front for extremist fundraising has also been seen in the city.
Birmingham has become a priority in terms of counter-terrorism initiatives like Prevent, a major part of the Government’s post 9/11 strategy. It targets those at risk of radicalisation through carefully-aimed projects as well as running educational programmes for schoolkids.
The Home Office will not say how much money it gives to each individual local authority.
But in 2012/13 Birmingham City Council was handed £230,000 according to the Rowe report, written for the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, involving members of the city council, probation service, police and fire service. That figure included Prevent manager Waqar Ahmed’s salary as well as administration costs, with the remainder spent on direct Prevent work.
The council says it cannot give details about specific projects because the funding is from central Government and as such “it is for them to comment”.
But the Rowe report reveals the council and partners chose to spend the bulk of 2012/13’s funding on what it called ‘mainstreaming’, including support for youth services.
It is understood this included the Youth Offending Service Project, described in the report as having “developed weekly discussion-based activity which diverts the most ‘at risk’ young people and their peers away from extremist ideologies.”
In the same year Birmingham also staged two Prevent conferences, one covering the east and north of the city and the other the west, central and south.
Funding also went on a project aimed at reducing the risk of children being exposed to extremist views in and out of school.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Mental Health Trust Project looked at helping support individuals identified as vulnerable to radicalisation.
But the Rowe report warns while efforts are being made to tackle home-grown terrorism, the threat of a terror attack remains.
“In Birmingham, work is underway to target those involved in facilitating and supporting terrorism,’’ it says. “There is an inherent risk that networks engaged in support activities, such as fundraising, may launch attacks.
“This type of progression has been seen before in Birmingham, as demonstrated by sentences handed out to local residents for offences under the Terrorism Act.
“Influential extremists continue to operate in Birmingham, promoting extremist ideologies in order to recruit people to their cause.
“A number of locations within Birmingham, such as gyms, restaurants and cafes, are used to facilitate extremist activity by allowing key figures spaces to operate and promulgate their message.”
But the greatest threat to the city is from individuals travelling overseas to take part in conflict or receive terrorist training who ‘subsequently come to Birmingham with enhanced intent and capability’, the report says.
Tribal Areas in Pakistan, Yemen and Syria are ‘attractive destinations’ for Western extremists, with strong evidence of ‘facilitation and support activities’ in Birmingham. But the report warns the ‘‘operations can swiftly develop from facilitation and support to active attack, which remains a constant threat.”
Cuts to Prevent were brought in after the Coalition came to power in 2010 as the government stopped money going to groups that included non-violent extremists.
In Birmingham, funding fell dramatically from £1.2 million in 2010/11 to just £59,168 the following year, while a review of Prevent took place. The figure is understood to have covered Mr Ahmed’s salary and some public engagements.
The counter-terrorism funding received by the council was also used for the linked Channel programme, a multi-agency initiative which aims to stop the radicalisation of young people.
The Home Office refused to comment on the cuts but a spokesman said: “As part of our Prevent counter-terrorism programme we work with a wide range of organisations to raise awareness of the dangers of travelling to areas of conflict such as Syria and Iraq and the risk of exploitation by extremist groups.
“We give support to programmes in communities to rebut terrorist and extremist propaganda. Our Channel programme also provides specific support to individuals who are at risk of radicalisation.
“To ensure this work can be conducted as effectively as possible, we do not routinely comment on the groups we work with.
“We, along with the vast majority of British Muslims, condemn those who advocate violence, intolerance and division.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "There has been a decrease in Prevent funding following a review by central government.
"The outcome of this review was a more refined focus for Prevent's objectives compared to the initial three-year period that included funding for a wider agenda of work that also covered community cohesion and integration.
"The funding for this wider work has been transferred to a different central government budget and is administered separately.
"The model for Prevent funding has also changed significantly - proposals are now submitted by the council to the Home Office for approval, while in the past the money was given to the council via the area based grant (the overall sum of money given to councils for services annually).
"There has also been an effort to mainstream Prevent activity into the roles of staff as part of the wider safeguarding agenda."