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Counter terrorism: Safeguarding our national security

On the 12 July the Home Secretary, Theresa May outlined the Government's revised Counter Terrorism Strategy - CONTEST 2011.

The aim of CONTEST is “to reduce the risk from international terrorism so that people can go about their daily lives freely and with confidence”, and it can be divided into 4 key workstreams:

  • Pursue
  • Prevent
  • Protect
  • Prepare

The threat from Terrorism to the UK, British Nationals and our interests abroad is current and very real.

The vast majority of these threats come from outside the UK and cannot be tackled by focusing efforts in the UK alone. We must address those threats before they manifest themselves on our shores.

The Foreign Office co-ordinates and delivers the UK government's work to counter terrorism overseas. The Foreign Office contributes to the delivery of CONTEST overseas in the following ways:


We aim to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism in the UK and abroad.

We’re doing this by:

  • responding to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it;
  • preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensuring that they are given appropriate advice and support;
  • working with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.
You can find the latest information on the Prevent strategy on the Home Office website. This includes the full text of the strategy and the outcomes of the Prevent review.


We are working to detect and investigate terrorist networks and disrupt their activities.

We’re doing this by:

  • improving our ability to identify and understand the terrorist threat;
  • disrupting terrorist activity and taking action to frustrate terrorist attacks;
  • bringing terrorists to justice through prosecution – this  includes strengthening the legal framework against terrorism;
  • developing international co-operation with partners and allies to strengthen our ability to work together to disrupt terrorist networks.


We seek to reduce the vulnerability of the UK and its interests overseas from terrorist attack. 

We do this by:

  • providing accurate FCO travel advice on the threat from domestic and international terrorism, with advice for British companies abroad;
  • supporting key foreign governments to develop their ability to protect areas such as aviation and maritime security, energy infrastructure, crowded places and ‘soft’ targets.


We are working to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack where it cannot be stopped  This includes work to manage an ongoing attack and recover from its aftermath.

We ensure this by:

  • preparing the FCO network to respond to terrorist attacks;
  • supporting key foreign governments to develop their own ability to respond to terrorism.