- CONTEST is the name of a counter-terrorism strategy developed by the
United Kingdom's Home Office in early 2003. The official objective of the strategy is "to reduce the risk from international
terrorism, so that people can go about their daily lives freely and with
confidence." The Home Office counter-terrorism strategy is
divided into four strands - Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. As a Probation
Service employee it is clear to me that the PREVENT
strand is the most pertinent to my organisation and
therefore the focus will be on this aspect of CONTEST.
Our counter-terrorism strategy sets out a comprehensive
plan for dealing with the terrorist threat.
It involves the work of thousands of people:
The strategy has four key elements:
These four areas of work complement and reinforce each
another to reduce the terrorist threat to the UK and our overseas interests.
As a result, many terrorists who planned to kill UK
citizens are behind bars, and terrorist plots that could have caused hundreds of
deaths have been prevented
Plots that have been stopped include two in 2004 in which
conspirators considered using radiological materials in a ‘dirty bomb’, other
plots uncovered featured 2005 plans by a London-based terrorist cell to buy
machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and a plot in early 2007 to kidnap
and kill a British soldier.
Part of this work involves challenging those who support
violence. But we also want to actively promote the shared values (including
democracy and the rule of law) on which our society and the cohesion of our
From our experience and research, we now know more than
ever before how some British citizens are drawn into terrorism. We are using
this understanding with partners to divert people away from this path.
We work directly with people in their communities to:
Protecting vulnerable individuals who might be attracted
to the ideology of violence is not just a job for the police, but also for local
government, schools and universities, local communities and all of us who come
into contact with them.
Terrorists aim to attack high profile targets, where they
can have maximum impact and cause the most casualties.
We have developed comprehensive plans to protect these
The National Identity Register and identity cards will
make it harder for terrorists to use multiple identities
The attempted terrorist attack in Exeter in 2008 showed
that we need to be prepared throughout the country to deal with a terrorist
We have studied every attack and plot against the UK to
learn everything we can about how to improve our resilience.
Thousands of emergency services workers and key officials
have been trained and equipped to deal with an incident, including attacks with
biological and radiological weapons.
Every region in the country has plans to deal with an
attack and ensure a return to normal as soon as possible.
Training goes beyond officials to store, pub and club
managers and security guards, who all work in crowded places that might be
targeted by terrorists. This means that: