What are we doing about terrorism?

Counter Terrorism Policing North West (CTPNW)

Established in April 2007, CTPNW exists as one of five Counter Terrorism Units (CTU’s) within a National Counter Terrorism Policing (NCTP) framework, designed to strengthen the UK’s response to the threat from terrorism. The threat we face, not just here in the NW but across the UK, is diverse and manifests itself in different forms, from International to Northern Ireland-related Terrorism and, increasingly, Domestic and Far Right Extremism.

Counter Terrorism Policing North West

In April 2018, the North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NWCTU) became Counter Terrorism Police North West (CTPNW), reflecting a formal collaboration between the five NW police forces. This followed a review undertaken in 2015 of how the Special Branch operate. As a result, changes have been actioned to streamline processes across the NW region to ensure they are consistent, maximise opportunities and deliver unified working.

The CTPNW manages and coordinates the operational counter terrorism response on behalf of the 5 North West forces: Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside; comprising of over 1000 officers and staff who are based across the region. It also offers CT assistance and guidance to the Isle of Man Constabulary. Operational governance is managed by ACC Russ Jackson and the Head of CTPNW is Detective Chief Superintendent Dominic Scally, who coordinates and delivers the four strands of Her Majesty’s Government’s CONTEST strategy (Prevent, Protect, Pursue and Prepare) in the North West in collaboration with local policing teams and other partner agencies.

The Head of CTPNW is assisted by 7 Senior Responsible Officers (SROs) who are responsible for leading one of each of the seven thematic strands covering Investigations, Operational Support, Intelligence, Borders Policing, Prevent, Protect & Prepare and Business Services.

The CTPNW and Lancashire Constabulary use the four strands of CONTEST to shape counter terrorism work.


The UK has a counter terrorism strategy called ‘CONTEST’ which aims 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.

The strategy has four work strands:

  • Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks
  • Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism
  • Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack
  • Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.

The Prevent strategy was revised by the Government in 2011, to reduce the UK’s terrorism threat by stopping people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Prevention and early intervention, as with other forms of criminality, are now seen as key to reducing risk in the longer term.

The Prevent strategy has three specific strategic objectives (the three I’s):

  1. Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.
  2. Prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support (referred to as the channel support programme).
  3. Work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.
More recent changes

Following the tragic death of Lee Rigby in May 2013 the Prime Minister convened and led an extremism task force. This and other UK security issues led to the draft publication of the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill 2015.

This Act seeks to place Prevent, Channel, and a number of security measures on a statutory footing.

In terms of Prevent and Channel, the consultation document sets out how specified authorities such as colleges, schools, prisons, probation, NHS, police, and councils will have to: “Have due regard in the exercise of their functions to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism” - Section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

What can you do to help?

Together we can make our communities safer.

We want to hear from you if you see anything suspicious or have any concerns. You may notice suspicious behaviour, be concerned about a family member, friend, or neighbour, or see something that just doesn’t feel right.

We will listen to you and act on your concerns. Remember, if in doubt report it. We would rather you get in touch with a false alarm than miss out on information that could prove to be significant.

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