CONTEST is the name of the United Kingdom's counter-terrorism strategy. It was first developed by the Home Office in early 2003, and a revised version was made publicly available in 2006. Further revisions were published on 24 March 2009 and, most recently, on 11 July 2011. An Annual Report on implementation of CONTEST was released in March 2010 and, most recently, in April 2014. The aim of the strategy 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 split into four work streams that are known within the counter-terrorism community as the 'four P's': Prevent, Pursue, Protect, and Prepare.
The purpose of Prevent is to stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This includes countering terrorist ideology and challenging those who promote it, supporting individuals who are especially vulnerable to becoming radicalized, and working with sectors and institutions where the risk of radicalization is assessed to be high. The deradicalisation programme is known as Channel; it is led by the police and uses liberal Muslim mentors who do not espouse any anti-Western violence.
The purpose of Pursue is to stop terrorist attacks by detecting, prosecuting and otherwise disrupting those who plot to carry out attacks against the UK or its interests overseas.
The purpose of Protect is to strengthen protection against a terrorist attack in the UK or against its interests overseas and so reduce their vulnerability. The work focuses on border security, the transport system, national infrastructure and public places.
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 the UK's resilience so we can recover from its aftermath.
Revised version of CONTEST
The updated strategy is reported to put more focus on ways of prevention and how to best alert the public of terrorist threats. In an article written for The Observer, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that the strategy is "recognized by our allies to be world-leading in its wide-ranging nature, [and] leaves us better prepared and strengthened in our ability to ensure all peace-loving people of this country can live normally, with confidence and free from fear."
- "About the counter-terrorism strategy". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- "Thousands getting terror training". BBC News. 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- "CONTEST:The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism". Home Office. July 2011.
- "Channel General Awareness" (Online training material). College of Policing & Metropolitan Police Service. 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
- "The four Ps - Pursue, Prevent, Protect, Prepare". Home Office. Retrieved 2009-05-26.
- "Counter-radicalisation (3): A disarming approach: Can the beliefs that feed terrorism be changed?". The Economist. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Prevent Training and Competencies Framework" (PDF). NHS England. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
- Hope, Christopher (2009-03-21). "British hotels are vulnerable to Mumbai-style attacks, anti-terrorist officers warn". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Brown, Gordon (2009-03-22). "We are about to take the war against terror to a new level". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-03-22.
- Countering International Terrorism: The United Kingdom's Strategy (downloadable PDF)
- Counter-terrorism strategy from the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism