Science and technology has a central role both in the evolving terrorist threat and in our efforts to counter it.
Modern technology has handed terrorists powerful new tools and techniques, such as rapid global communications, or new explosive materials. Terrorists have been quick to exploit the communications revolution to spread propaganda, raise funds, plan operations recruit and train. Some groups aspire to use chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear materials to mount more lethal attacks.
Using science to counter the threat
Our approach to harness science in order to counter the threat from such technically-aware terrorists is described in our 2009 science and technology strategy for Countering International Terrorism. We have an on-going programme for the procurement of research solutions from a range of sources across government, industry and academia to support this.
Chemical recovery handbook
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has, in collaboration with the Home Office, defra and other key stakeholders, published a handbook which provides guidance in managing the recovery phase of chemical incidents where contamination has affected food production systems, inhabited areas or water environments.
The handbook is intended for use by recovery coordination groups and other stakeholders, as a user-friendly guidance document to aid the decision-making process for developing and implementing a recovery strategy in the aftermath of a chemical incident. An electronic version of the UK Recovery Handbook for Chemical Incidents is available on the HPA website.
The handbook has been developed as part of a participatory process and stakeholder engagement programme, with interest and support from national and international partners, and has been developed following the model adopted in the UK Recovery Handbook for Radiation Incidents: 2009.
For more information, email the HPA's chemcial recovery team or telephone 01235 824868.
We actively seek scientific and technological solutions to terrorist threats. We have set seven key counter-terrorism challenges where we believe science and technology will have an impact to:
- understand the causes of radicalisation
- protect the national infrastructure
- reduce the vulnerability of crowded places
- protect against cyber terrorism
- improve analytical tools
- identify, detect and counter novel and improvised explosives
- understand and counter chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats (CBRNE)
If you have an idea or a question about how science and technology can contribute to countering terrorism, email the science and technology team.