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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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U.K. to Refresh Counterterrorism Strategy to Meet Changing Threats

The government says it will do everything possible to strengthen the U.K.’s protection against terrorist attacks. This includes a renewed commitment to introduce the Protect Duty, which will enhance the safety of public venues while avoiding placing additional burden on small businesses.

The U.K. government will carry out a wholesale refresh of the UK’s counterterrorism strategy, to protect its citizens from new, emerging and persistent threats.

In the U.K. and overseas, there has been a shift towards self-initiated terrorists operating independently from organized groups with increasingly personal ideologies and warped views used to justify violence. The tactics and methodologies used by terrorists are diversifying and becoming increasingly fragmented.

To meet those threats, the U.K.’s counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, will be updated to reflect these new challenges. This will involve seeking a diverse range of views and engaging security experts from across the U.K. and overseas.

“Terrorists seek to divide us and sow hatred. We will not let them. Our commitment to the values we cherish is too strong,” ­Security Minister, Tom Tugendhat, said. “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 a series of important reviews, including the second volume of the Manchester Arena Inquiry, set to be published next week.

In addition, the findings from an independent review of Prevent, a key pillar of CONTEST, will strengthen the government’s ability to stop individuals being drawn into terrorism in the first place.

The government says it will do everything possible to strengthen the U.K.’s protection against terrorist attacks. This includes a renewed commitment to introduce the Protect Duty, which will enhance the safety of public venues while avoiding placing additional burden on small businesses.

The U.K. counterterror system already encompasses the efforts of more than 20 government departments and agencies. Since 2017 alone, more than 200 recommendations have been implemented in response to terrorist attacks, including the creation of the world’s first multi-organizational Counter Terrorism Operations Centre, in London in June 2021.

“Since its launch in 2003, CONTEST has proved to be an enduring and effective strategic framework for the U.K.’s counterterrorism response, but it shouldn’t stand still,” Head of Counter Terrorism Policing­­­, Matt Jukes said. “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 four pillars of the CONTEST strategy and will continue to be at the heart of our preparedness for the terrible moments when attacks happen.”

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

Read more at the U.K. Home Office

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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