The UK counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST)

The UK counter-terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST, focuses on the most significant security threat to the people of the UK today – the threat from international terrorism.

The aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from international terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.

Four focus areas

CONTEST programmes are organised into four workstreams:

  • Pursue – to stop terrorist attacks
  • Prevent – to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism
  • Protect – to strengthen our protection against terrorist attack
  • Prepare – where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact.

Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare reinforce and complement each another to reduce the terrorist threat to the UK and our overseas interests.

The strategy includes action at the international, national and local level. We have a parallel Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security Strategy to protect the 2012 Games from all types of risk, including terrorism.

A revised and updated CONTEST strategy will be published in the New Year.

Review of counter-terrorism powers

The review documents of the counter-terrorism and security powers were published on 26 January 2011. These include:

  • Review findings and recommendations
  • Summary of responses to the consultation
  • Equality impact assessment
  • A report by Lord Macdonald of River Glaven QC

In July 2010 the Home Secretary announced the review of key counter-terrorism and security powers, these included:

  • Control orders 
  • section 44 stop and search powers and the use of terrorism legislation in relation to photography. Recommendations in respect of the stop and search powers were partly implemented by an order made on 16 March: The Terrorism Act 2000 (Remedial) Order 2011
  • the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by local authorities and access to communications data more generally
  • extending the use of ‘deportations with assurances’ in a manner that is consistent with our legal and human rights obligations
  • measures to deal with organisations that promote hatred and violence
  • pre-charge detention, including alternatives to the current measures and possibilities for increased safeguards.

Terms of reference for the review were published on 27 July 2010.

Review of Prevent

The Home Office is undertaking a review of the Prevent strand of CONTEST, with a clear separation between Prevent (Home Office lead) and integration (Communities and Local Government lead).

The outcome of the review will be published in Spring 2011.

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