Information about the Home Office's work fighting terrorism.
The Home Office is responsible for keeping the UK safe from the threat posed by terrorism. That threat is real and serious.
Terrorism is not new to us. Between 1969 and the signing of the Belfast agreement in April 1998, more than 3,500 people died in the UK as a result of Irish-related terrorism.
Sadly, since then, there have been attacks by dissident republican terrorist groups, showing their continued intent to commit such acts despite the political progress of recent years, which is supported by the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland.
However, it is international terrorism that remains the greatest current threat, both in this country and to our overseas interests.
The modern international terrorist threat is very different from the terrorists we've dealt with in the past. Many groups now wrongly use religion to justify their actions, and most have vague, wide-ranging goals. There is no single issue behind their attacks.
On July 7, 2005 British terrorists attacked the London transport system, murdering 52 people and injuring hundreds more. A second planned attack two weeks later failed. Those involved in these operations were working with Al Qa'ida. There have been numerous plots against UK citizens since, including in London and Glasgow in June 2007 and Exeter in May 2008.
Groups like this hope for mass civilian casualties, and they are willing to use extraordinary methods (including chemical or radiological weapons) to kill as many as possible. They attack without warning, and they are constantly recruiting new members.
You can help us
If you know of a threat to national security or you want to report suspicious activity, there are several ways to reach us:
- in an emergency call 999
- call the police counter-terrorism hotline on 0800 789 321
- contact the Security Service (MI5) directly (new window)
You can remain anonymous, and you may save lives.
Our work to stop attacks
Because of all of this, we've now revised our counter-terrorism strategy - known as CONTEST - to reflect the changing nature of the terrorist threat we face, so that we can continue to prevent attacks from occurring.
This revised strategy is designed to ensure our work remains successful and keeps you and your family safe.
- Download a leaflet explaining the changes to CONTEST
- Read the full counter-terrorism strategy document (new window)
- Watch a video about CONTEST (new window) or read the transcript of that video
The Office for Security and Counter Terrorism
The Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) (new window) in the Home Office works to bring cohesion and strength to our fight against terrorism. It supports the Home Secretary and other government ministers in developing, directing and implementing the country's counter-terrorism strategy (new window).
OSCT oversees the Security Service and police counter-terrorism operations in the UK, and manages the handling of terrorist attacks.