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Preventing terrorism

Information about the Government's strategy to prevent and deal with terrorism, and the councils role in this.

What is counter terrorism?

Counter terrorism simply means promoting and delivering activities that are designed to prevent or stop terrorism.

Intelligence suggests that the UK is currently ‘highly likely’ to be subject to a terrorist attack. This is not necessarily from foreign nationals, but also from individuals born and bred in the UK.

The threat of the use of violence for extremist ends can be from a range of sources, including extreme political, religious and ‘rights’ groups.

The council works with Humberside Police, NHS East Riding and other partners, as well as with local communities, to try and reduce the risks presented by those within our communities who might engage in an act of extreme violence, endangering every resident of the East Riding as well as themselves.

What is the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy?

The UK Government has developed a counter terrorist strategy, which has changed over the years, known as the CONTEST Strategy. You can read the full strategy on GOV.UK:

GOV.UK - CONTEST counter terrorism strategy (external website)

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, unlike those strategies that have been in place before, will look at all forms of terrorism to this country and its interests, whether the terrorist activity begins here or overseas.

This strategy not only aims to catch and prosecute terrorists, but also to prevent people becoming terrorists in the first place:

‘The primary duty of Government is to protect the British public. This strategy gives us a more effective, focused and more flexible response to the changing terrorist threat we face.’

Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, (From Foreword to the CONTEST Strategy)

Four parts to the CONTEST strategy (known as the Four Ps)

Pursue

The Pursue part of the strategy is about stopping terrorist attacks in the UK and against our interest overseas. This is done by finding and looking into threats as early as possible, disrupting terrorist activity before it has reached the point of putting the public in danger and, wherever possible, prosecuting those responsible.

Prevent

The Prevent part of the strategy is all about working with partners to stop people becoming exploited or radicalised to all forms of terrorism. This is done by challenging people and views that promote extremist or dangerous behaviour or that are shared by terrorist organisations, reducing their opportunities to use the internet to endanger or exploit others, and generally reduce support for terrorism of all kinds.

Protect

The Protect part of the strategy is about reducing the risks for terrorist activities to be successful or cause harm. This is done by protecting hazardous materials and reducing the risks of terrorist activities to crowded places. Through this work, the aim is to make the UK more protected against terrorist attacks and reduce its vulnerability to such an attack.

Prepare

The Prepare part of the strategy is about reducing the impact of a terrorist attack where that attack cannot be stopped. This is done by bringing a terrorist attack to an end and supporting people and areas suffering an attack to recover quickly. An effective and efficient response will save lives, reduce harm and support recovery.

How will this counter terrorism strategy be put into practice?

The counter terrorism strategy (CONTEST) has six key principles that define how it will be put into practice:

Effective

Progress will be regularly looked at and reviewed against the aims of the strategy.

Proportionate

Resources will be provided to make sure that CONTEST can be delivered well. Where action needs to be taken, those taking it will be given the powers that are appropriate to the risk faced in order to make sure that those risks can be reduced to a level judged to be acceptable.

Transparent

Wherever possible and consistent with the UK’s security, more information will be made available about the threats the UK is facing, what options are available to stop these threats and what response the Government has decided on.

Flexible

Terrorists will look to use new tactics to find ways through whatever security the UK has in place. The risks faced will be regularly looked at to make sure that the UK’s security measures are suitable and appropriate to stop them.

Collaborative

Stopping terrorism needs to take place at local, national and international level. Working in partnership with foreign governments, businesses, voluntary  and community organisations and the public will continue to make sure this is effective.

Value for money

Reducing costs will remain an important concern whilst continuing to find suitable ways to meet the aims of CONTEST and stop terrorism for the immediate and long-term future.

How does the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy aim to prevent people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism?

The Prevent  part of the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy (CONTEST), is seen as being very important. This is because it is believed that simply arresting and prosecuting more people would not stop the threats that we face.

The threat we face from terrorism is real, and the Prevent part of the strategy recognises that we can’t arrest our way out of the problem so it aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

The Prevent part of the strategy will now look at radicalisation to all forms of terrorism, prioritised according to the risks we face. 

Whilst remaining committed to protecting the freedom of speech, preventing radicalisation means challenging extremist ideas and views that make terrorism attractive and are part of the statements that terrorist organisations make. This could mean simply making sure that these ideas and views are put to open debate, or, where people seek to enter the country from overseas to act in support of extremism as well as terrorist groups, using the UK Government’s powers to stop them from entering.

This can only be achieved by working in partnership with businesses, voluntary and community groups and the public, creating a strong sense of common ground and shared values, supporting local people to be involved and to feel they can help protect their communities.

In many areas, this partnership way of working is now being delivered through a system called ‘Channel ’.

The aims of the Prevent part of the strategy are to:

  • Respond to ideas and views put forward by terrorist individuals and organisations and to respond to the threat we face from individuals and organisations.

  • Stop people from being drawn into terrorism and make sure that they are given appropriate advice and support.

  • Work with a wide range of partners (including education providers, criminal justice agencies, faith groups, charities and health partners) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to look into.

  • Work to challenge terrorist ideas and views is not about trying to change the majority opinion because it does not need changing. The purpose is to reach the much smaller number of people who are vulnerable to radicalisation. The aim is to bring together and involve communities, not give the impression that they need to be convinced terrorism is wrong.

How do we know if this is working?

Success in delivering the Prevent part of the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST, would mean that:

  • There is a reduction in support for terrorism of all kinds in the UK and in states overseas whose security most impacts on our own.

  • There is more effective challenge to those extremists whose views are shared by terrorist organisations and used by terrorist to legitimise violence.

  • There is more challenge to and isolation of extremists and terrorists operating on the Internet.

What is being done to protect those most at risk from being exploited or recruited by terrorists?

Vulnerable people, including children, young people and vulnerable adults, can be exploited by people who seek to involve them in terrorism or activity in support of terrorism. There is a multi-agency approach, led by the council, which looks at referrals of people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and decides whether or not action needs to be taken. This approach, which is called ‘Channel’, works alongside the safeguarding partnerships to protect people at risk from radicalisation. 

You can read more about our  Safeguarding Adults Board and  Safeguarding Children Board.

Channel is looking at people’s vulnerabilities early and reducing the risk of harm. Where people holding extremist views appear to be moving towards terrorism, they clearly become relevant to Channel multiagency boards. Otherwise they do not. They are likely to have been identified as holding extreme yet legitimate ideas, but have been assessed as being at risk of moving from that position into one of criminality.

It is always good safeguarding practice to involve the vulnerable person in any support activity and offer them as much choice as possible in the process. Channel follows this same idea.

It should be stressed that, at this stage, the person has not committed any offence.

Channel programmes are prioritised around areas and places of higher risk, defined as those where terrorist groups and their sympathisers have been most active. However, Channel interventions can take place anywhere, regardless of whether or not that place has been designated as a priority area.

Channel is completely confidential and open. The person at risk is approached and can decline to take part in any intervention.

You can read about the Channel part of the CONTEST strategy on GOV.UK:

GOV.UK - Channel guidance (external website)

How is the council helping deliver the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy in the East Riding?

The council’s responsibilities are mostly in working in partnership with appropriate agencies to support the Prevent part of the UK Government’s counter terrorism strategy, known as CONTEST, and help support people who may be, or become, at risk of radicalisation.

The council has created a programme of awareness raising and training for all its staff, especially those who may come into contact with vulnerable groups, to make sure that they are aware of what to look for and how to support individuals. This includes training to identify potential radicalisation and extremist behaviour and how to then refer this, if necessary, through the support and safeguarding process, known as Channel.

The council is working with the Police, health services, schools and colleges, prison and probation services and local voluntary and community organisations, as appropriate, to coordinate this work and help reduce the risk of extremism and radicalisation in the East Riding. This multi-agency way of working is supported by detailed action plans that aim to reduce the risk in this area of extremist action and stopping vulnerable residents from being drawn in to radical behaviour.

How do I report my concerns about someone who is at risk from being exploited or recruited by terrorists?

If you have concerns about a person who you feel may be vulnerable to being exploited or recruited by terrorists, you can contact:

The Police

Telephone: 101

Email:  prevent@humberside.pnn.police.uk

Website:

Humberside Police - Terrorism (external website)

EHASH (Early Help and Safeguarding Hub) – for young people under 18 years-of-age

Telephone: (01482) 395500.