The UK Government’s Principal Counter-Terrorism Strategy

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1.1 Introduction

CONTEST is the UK government’s principal counter-terrorism strategy whose purpose is to reduce ‘the risks to the United Kingdom ... from terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence (Contest, 2011, Heath‐Kelly, 2012). This strategy has four principal workstreams. Pursue (Contest, 2011, 44p), Prevent (Contest, 2011, 58), Protect (Contest, 2011, 78p) and Prepare, 2011, 92p), also referred to as the four P’s (Santamato, Beumler, 2013). This thesis focuses primarily on Prevent, a policy which aims to ‘stop people from becoming terrorist or supporting terrorism (Aly, 2013) and argues that the innovative inclusion of Prevent within the already established institutional framework caused tensions between government agencies and departments on both national and local levels (Painter, 2013). It identifies and explores conflicts and tensions that arose between Pursue - a police and security services led work stream - and Prevent tensions within Prevent, and considers the effects of Prevent on local Muslims and on local British Kashmiri communities (Davis, McGarrity, William, 2014).

This chapter provides a brief overview of CONTEST, particularly Prevent and Pursue (Contest, 2011, 117p) and discusses changes within this policy in the last three years. This will be followed by an introduction to some of the conceptual ideas that underpin this policy and the relevant literature on Prevent. Gaps within the literature are identified, setting the context for the thesis. Subsequent sections specify the purpose of the thesis, its originality, and introduce the data collection methods. The concluding section outlines the structure of the thesis.

1.2 The background

UK government has changed it...

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...rceptions influenced by a negative media and political discourse about Islam and the Muslim identity have had a negative effect on the engagement with the Prevent policy in West Yorkshire County and in Greater Manchester County, and why the policy has had little effect locally. In addition to perceptions, it examines other barriers that have influenced the success of Prevent in West Yorkshire County and Greater Manchester County e.g. exclusion of British Kashmiri communities.

Chapter 8 evaluates the findings of the preceding chapters and reiterates the tensions identified previously. It is organised around the three main conflicts tying the national, local and community experiences together. Chapter 8 highlights the results and conclusions of the thesis.

Chapter 9 will makes looks at what lessons for the future, and discusses potential areas of future research.