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Terrorism and Prevent

What is Terrorism?

Terrorism presents a serious and sustained threat to the United Kingdom and UK interests abroad. Terrorist groups seek to cause widespread disruption, fear and intimidation. They use violence or the threat of violence as a means of publicising their causes, motivating those who might be sympathetic to them and intimidating those who do not sympathise. They often aim to influence government policies and they often reject existing democratic processes, or even democracy itself, as a means of achieving their objectives. Although there is no generally agreed definition of terrorism internationally, in the UK the Terrorism Act 2000 defines terrorism as:

“The use or threat of action designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public, or a section of the public; made for the purposes of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause; and it involves or causes:

  • serious violence against a person;
  • serious damage to a property;
  • a threat to a person’s life;
  • a serious risk to the health and safety of the public; or
  • serious interference with or disruption to an electronic system.”

For more information about the different terrorist threats visit the MI5 website.


Prevent is part of the Government’s CONTEST strategy.  Prevent aims to provide early intervention to individuals at risk of radicalisation. It focuses on support and guidance, and not on criminalisation.

The three key objectives of Prevent are:

  • Ideology: challenge the ideology of terrorism and disrupt the ability of those who promote it.
  • Individuals: prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support.
  • Institutions: work with sectors (including education, faith, health, criminal justice, charities and the internet) where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.

In order to address these objectives, we have adopted ‘Channel’ – a multi-agency approach to assessing and supporting individuals who may be targeted by violent extremists or drawn into violent extremism.

For more information about Terrorism, Prevent, the Channel process, reporting suspicious activity or someone vulnerable to radicalisation visit the SaferNEL website.