Wednesday 22 April 2009, by News Agencies
The British government has introduced an updated version of its counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST. In CONTEST 2, there is a stronger focus on training civilians, such as shop and hotel owners, to intervene in case of a terrorist threat. This might not be an actual attack but any act that undermines the belief in democracy, human rights, free speech and tolerance. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith rejected criticism that calls these measures ’snooping’.
The strategy, which consists of the four strands Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare, will also try to work more on the prevent section, particularly aiming to keep Muslims from radicalising. In an article to the Observer, Prime Minister Gordon Brown defends the new strategy and calls for more vigilance among the public. Large sums are also going to be spent on community projects to counter Islamist doctrines and address longer term causes of terrorism. Authorities claim that the terrorist threat remains high after the 7/7 attacks, although is not thought to be imminent.
This article highlights the risks of overstepping the boundary between ensuring security and protecting the liberty and freedom of all individuals. As governments work to involve the public in security practices, equal efforts at promoting greater public understanding of Muslim groups must also be considered.
March 24, 2009
The Observer (Gordon Brown) - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/22/gordon-brown-terrorism
Details on the report from the government website: http://security.homeoffice.gov.uk/news-publications/news-speeches/taking-new-approach-ct
(The report is not yet online, only the first 2006 version)