What are we doing about terrorism?

North West Counter Terrorism Unit

The North West Counter Terrorism Unit (NW CTU) tackles terrorist threat in Lancashire and throughout the region.

The unit supports Lancashire Constabulary in protecting the public from terrorist threats by working closely with neighbourhood policing teams to collect, analyse and act on intelligence.

The NW CTU 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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