Counter Terror in the UK
Counter Terrorist strategies are developed in a variety of different ways around the world, with different international regulations and methods of protection required in different countries. In the United Kingdom, the strategy set out by the Home Office is known as ‘CONTEST.’
As taken from Gov.uk:
The aim of CONTEST is to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from terrorism so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.
CONTEST is a long-standing counter terrorism program, first being rolled out in 2003, with multiple revisions and changes being implemented to the current iteration being developed today. CONTEST today is a four-workstream strategy with an emphasis on empowering the public to help back up and resolve criminal threats.
The four workstreams all comprise a number of key objectives, and put together is considered to be one of the most noteworthy anti-terror strategies in the world.
To stop terrorist attacks
Created to stop terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, as well as the UK’s interests abroad, Pursue is based around researching, detecting and investigating threats at the earliest stage and putting an halt to terror activity before any incident can endanger the public. The objective of Pursue is based upon the detention and prosecution of people involved in planning terror operations locally, as well as overseas operations.
To stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
With a recently widened scope with a narrower focus, Prevent is designed to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and radicalisation and the threat faced from those promoting it, as well as further preventing people from being drawn into terrorism and ensuring that they are given advice and support (inc. education, criminal justice, charities, internet and healthcare).
To strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack
The aim of Protect is to strengthen the United Kingdom’s protection against a terror attack. Protect is often the most complex workstream, with a sprawling focus and a lot of long-term infrastructure work. In addition, there is a significant focus on International regulation, monitoring and border control. This workstream runs full risk assessments, and helps the process to reduce to an acceptable and proportionate level.
To mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack
Prepare is designed to reduce the impact of an attack in an event the attack can’t be stopped, with a focus on preparing an effective and efficient aftermath that can help save lives, reduce harm and aid recovery. A successful prepare strategy will be able to respond efficiently to attacks throughout the country.
The Stages of a Terror Attack
Most attacks designed to create terror and fear in a community are specially targeted with months and even years of research. Designed with the end result of fear in the mind, a terror attack is built in multiple stages, including:
Initially, a discussion or meeting is set and an end-goal reaction is decided on.
Identifying the specific targets and their habits.
Often gathered from first-hand research and active use of public sources, such as news coverage, government and businesses involved.
It’s then possible to decide how much visibility should be gained during the act and what will be captured by guards, people, and electronic surveillance.
5. GO/NO-GO DECISION
The research is complete and the decision is weighed-up and eventually decided.
If the decision to go ahead is set, a plan and strategy are made.
7. TOOL UP
The tools, weapons and devices are selected and purchased.
Before the attack, a run-through usually takes place and the final adjustments are made.
9. EXECUTE (perimeter solutions can cause delays)
The planned attack takes place. At this stage, a secure defense of physical and electronic security can cause some unexpected delays to the attack, increasing the chance of assailant capture.
10. ESCAPE AND GETAWAY
The attackers will look for an escape and a security system makes this harder.
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