How do we implement CONTEST?
The Government's national counter terrorism strategy is known as CONTEST. We run a dedicated operation by the same name, coordinating the force's counter terrorism activity. Our approach is multi-focused. It includes:
- Elements to prevent terrorist acts
- Measures to ensure offenders are identified and prosecuted
- Training and information sharing to minimise the possibility of terrorists acts taking place at all.
- Pro-active engagement with the community to prevent vulnerable individuals being recruited by violent extremists
To reflect the national approach, we address counter terrorism through the following four activities:
We aim to pursue terrorists and their sponsors by improving our understanding of terrorist networks, tracking down terrorists, disrupting their activity and bringing them to justice.
We can help protect the public by ensuring that the West Midlands becomes a harder target for terrorist activity. To do this we work with local agencies and businesses to advise them and help them develop a counter terrorist strategy.
The force constantly assesses the potential consequences of a terrorist attack. We seek to improve its resilience to cope with this and other major disruptive challenges. We work in close partnership with other agencies and regularly hold training exercises.
This is a long term and vital element of CONTEST. It focuses on building relationships with all members of the community and enhancing links with key organisations.
Our Prevent work will not only reassure vulnerable groups but also potentially impact the underlying causes of terrorism and diminish support for terrorists.
The objectives for Prevent nationally and locally are to:
- Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it
- Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
- Work with a wide range of sectors (including education, criminal justice, faith, charities, the internet and health) where there are risks of radicalisation
To drive the Prevent agenda forward, the force has set up a dedicated department within our CTU to focus on establishing and developing successful partnerships.
Uniformed counter terrorism officers, called Prevent Officers, are working across key neighbourhoods to promote Prevent. Members of the community are invited to play an active role in this project, which seeks to bring everyone together to defeat violent extremism.