CONTEST is a national strategy and based around four main areas of work: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. There is also a new counter-extremism strategy which sits alongside the government's wider counter-terrorism activity. Collectively, these strategies set out how the government, with the boroughs and other statutory partners in London, work together to reduce the threat from terrorist or extremist activity.
Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks
The purpose of Pursue is to stop terrorist attacks in this country and against our interests overseas. This means detecting and investigating threats at the earliest possible stage, disrupting terrorist activity before it can endanger the public and, wherever possible, prosecuting those responsible.
London's boroughs are important partners in the chain of intelligence and support mechanisms that detect and disrupt terrorist activity.
Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
The aims of Prevent are to:
- Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it
- Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
- Work with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, the internet and health) where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.
Out of the four CONTEST strands, Prevent has the widest implications for the London boroughs. The Counter-terrorism and Security Act in February 2015 placed Prevent on a statutory footing, covering 353 principal local authorities in England and Wales, who now, when exercising their functions, have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. Prior to the statutory duty, out of the 30 Prevent priority areas nationally, 17 were London boroughs.
Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack
The purpose of Protect is to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack in the UK or against our interests overseas and so reduce our vulnerability.
This is particularly important in London because of the region's social, economic and cultural significance to the UK and its global profile.
Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack
The purpose of Prepare is to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack where that attack cannot be stopped. This includes work to bring a terrorist attack to an end and to increase our resilience so we can recover from its aftermath. An effective and efficient response will save lives, reduce harm and aid recovery.
London's boroughs contribute resource and expertise to London's resilience structure and are key partners in the preparation and response to terrorist attacks.