CONTEST - anti terrorism

Introduction

CONTEST is the United Kingdom's strategy for countering terrorism. The strategy has been in place since 2003. The latest version of the strategy was released in July 2011. As the strategy states: "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." This document aims to outline Spelthorne Borough Council's interpretation of CONTEST. This will reflect the efforts the Council is making in response to the threat of terrorism. Efforts are co-ordinated by the members of the Protection Against Terrorist Attacks Delivery Group.

Efforts will be interpreted in line with the four workstreams that CONTEST is organised in to:

  • Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks
  • Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
  • Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack; and
  • Prepare: where a terrorist attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack

Pursue

Pursue is the Police-led strand of CONTEST. The focus of much of this counter-terrorism work is the detention and prosecution of people planning terrorists operations. Therefore, this is not a strand of CONTEST in which Spelthorne Council will be actively engaged. However, the Council will ensure that the security and intelligence services are able to operate with maximum possible effectiveness in order to stop terrorist attacks. The form that Spelthorne Council's involvement in assisting Pursue will take will arise because of the two touch points between Pursue and Prevent. Prevent depends of Pursue to facilitate the disruption and conviction of people engaged in radicalisation activities which are clearly illegal; Pursue depends on Prevent to restrict the number of people engaging in terrorism-related activities.

Prevent

The Prevent strategy aims to:

  • challenge the ideology that supports terrorism and those who promote it
  • protect vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorist-related activity
  • support sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation

Prevent is a part of CONTEST that needs particularly close local focus in order to ensure success. Spelthorne  Council will work with others to help ensure that the Borough does not become an area that fosters a culture that promotes any form of terrorism. This approach is outlined in the Spelthorne Safer Stronger Partnership Strategy. Spelthorne Council's Emergency Planning and Resilience Co-ordinator will attend local and county Prevent meetings and other relevant meetings to increase co-ordination between the Prevent and Prepare strands.

Protect

The purpose of Protect is to strengthen protection against a terrorist attack and so reduce vulnerability. Spelthorne Council will work to: raise the awareness of potential threats amongst local communities and businesses; encourage the designing-in of counter-terrorist protective security measures where appropriate to new building development; actively engage with Project Argus and Project Griffin. These actions will work to improve protective security in crowded places across the Borough of Spelthorne.

Prepare

Prepare aims to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack that cannot be stopped. This includes work to bring a terrorist attack to an end and to increase resilience, so the Borough can recover after an attack. Spelthorne Council publishes an Emergency Plan which details the ways in which the Borough would deal with any major incident, including a terrorist attack. Work in the Prepare strand will also involve: linking with Runnymede and Elmbridge Councils to devise a joint action plan; liaising closely with the Police and partners on risk and threat levels to ensure that resources are available accordingly and staff are trained; working with Police and other partners to ensure that crowded areas have specific evacuation plans, where appropriate; working closely with the local emergency services to ensure that the local response framework is clear and robust. These actions will be overseen and developed by Spelthorne's Emergency Planning and Resilience Co-ordinator.