CONTEST and Prevent

What is CONTEST?

CONTEST is the Government's Counter Terrorism Strategy, published in July 2006 and refreshed in March 2009. The aim of the strategy is 'to reduce the risk from international terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.'

CONTEST has four strands, often known as the four Ps. The aims of the 4 Ps are:

  • PREVENT - to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism.
  • PURSUE - to stop terrorist attacks through disruption, investigation and detection.
  • PREPARE - where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact.
  • PROTECT - to strengthen against terrorist attack, including borders, utilities, transport infrastructure and crowded places.
Officers speaking to people in the community

What is Prevent?

Prevent is about stopping people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism.

The long-term solution to the threat faced by the UK from domestic or international terrorism is not just about more effective policing. It is about tackling the factors that can cause people to become drawn into violent extremism and empowering individuals and communities to stand up to violent extremists.

Prevent is not about singling out a particular group. It is about addressing the real threat to the security of this country, the most significant of which is from those who claim to act in the name of Islam, therefore much Prevent activity takes place in and with Muslim communities. However, Prevent work can apply equally to other communities who may be the focus of attention from violent extremist groups.

Prevent is delivered in partnership by a wide range of organisations including the police service. Together we recognise that the best long term solution to preventing terrorism is to stop people becoming terrorists in the first place.

Violent extremists are motivated by an ideology, which wrongly uses religion to justify violence. Working closely with other organisations, our aim is to support local communities and institutions to challenge and reject the message of extremism. The Prevent strategy also aims to support vulnerable members of our communities by helping to divert them away from violent extremism.

This is a challenging and complex area that requires a whole community approach' between national and local organisations and embraces the experience, energy and ideas of our local communities, as well as police officers and staff.

Safer Neighbourhood Policing Teams

Through our Safer Neighbourhoods Policing Teams and on-going community engagement activity, we already work with communities on various areas of concern in an effort to identify and support vulnerable members of our society and to tackle those who disrupt our neighbourhoods. At the same time we are actively engaging with partners, such as local authorities and community organisations, to jointly address underlying problems and identify solutions. This work provides the cornerstone for Prevent activity.

Wide-ranging, locally-based activity is taking place within our communities to support the aim of Prevent. This work ranges from providing help for vulnerable individuals through diversionary activity and providing access to specific services such as education, housing and employment.

Prevent is a long term endeavour for us all and together we need to challenge those who support violence regardless of faith, race or background.

Violent extremists seek to exploit vulnerabilities in individuals and drive a wedge between them, their families and their communities. Working with other local and national organisations, it is the aim of the police service to support those who are being targeted and create stronger and more empowered communities who have the ability to reject violent extremism in all its forms.

If you want to know more about the work of Prevent, contact your Community Engagement Team.

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.