Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
November 8, 2022


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Counter terror

UK Security Minister announces review of counter-terror strategy

The UK Government is set to carry out a “wholesale refresh” of its counter-terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST, in a move designed to adapt to new, emerging and persistent security threats.

UK Security Minister, Thomas Tugendhat

UK Security Minister, Thomas Tugendhat (Credit: UK Parliament official portraits 2017)

The Home Office has raised concerns over a shift in the motives and methodologies of terrorist attacks. In particular, it believes attacks from “self-initiated terrorists operating independently” have become more frequent, where “increasingly personal ideologies and warped views [are] used to justify violence”.

To meet these challenges, CONTEST will be updated, where the Government will seek a diverse range of views and engage security experts across the UK and abroad. The strategy was first launched in 2003, and has been updated several times since.

The Government expects to publish an updated and enhanced version of CONTEST next year.

Tom Tugendhat, Security Minister, commented:

“Terrorists seek to divide us and sow hatred. We will not let them. Our commitment to the values we cherish is too strong. But as the nature of terrorism continues to evolve and endure, so must we.

“We will ensure that our response to the terror threat continues to be world-leading and ensure we have a strategy that allows people to go about their lives freely and with confidence.”

The update will take into account the second volume of the Manchester Arena inquiry findings, published last week, as well as findings from the Independent Review of Prevent, designed to stop individuals from being drawn into terrorism in the first place.

Within this process, the Home Office outlined a renewed commitment to introduce the Protect Duty legislation, focusing on enhancing the safety of public venues. Just two weeks ago, campaigner for the Duty, Figen Murray, called on the new UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to keep the legislation on the agenda.

More than 200 recommendations have been implemented in response to terrorist attacks since 2017, claims the Home Office – pointing towards the creation of the multi-organisational Counter Terrorism Operations Centre in June 2021.

Counter-terror strategy “can’t stand still”

Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Matt Jukes, added: “Since its launch in 2003, CONTEST has proved to be an enduring and effective strategic framework for the UK’s counter-terrorism response, but it shouldn’t stand still.

“Today’s threat is dominated by increasingly fragmented ideologies, self-initiated terrorism, and the reach of hateful online ideologies into the lives of the young people.

“It is vital that any future strategy reflects these learnings and also looks forward to the collaborations we will need in the future to keep people safe.

“Counter-Terrorism Policing, uniquely, has made an evolving contribution to all 4 pillars of the CONTEST strategy and will continue to be at the heart of our preparedness for the terrible moments when attacks happen.”


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