Four P’s of Counter-Terrorism

The over-arching counter-terrorism strategy in the United Kingdom, known as CONTEST, demonstrated four pillars of counter-terrorism known as the four P’s:


Okay. What do they mean?


Prevent: to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Stop the terrorist event from even happening. Isn’t it better to get them in the planning stage, the initiation phase, or any other early phase of attack, rather than when it is happening or has happened and more people have already lost their lives? We want to avoid the active shooter, active contact, and active bomber situations by getting them before or just as they begin to do it. The former, of course, is the wanted situation. This will save lives.


Pursue: to stop terrorist attacks.

Follow-up on any terrorist occurrence or any hint of one. Whether that means traveling overseas and working with foreign agencies or not, every effort must be made to pursuit and track suspected terrorists domestically or internationally. This is one of the reasons why kinetic – or violent – action against terrorist groups is always a card on the table. This will save lives.


Protect: to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack.

Always look to put the public interest first, to protect innocent civilians. The line between security and personal freedom is sometimes blurred and it is vitally important that the public’s interest is protected, whilst maintaining a safe environment for social growth and upbringing. Stable and safe environments and communities are what we look to create and maintain. This will save lives.


Prepare: to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack.

Never forget that we can never predict the future or be ahead of every possible plan and attack formulation out there. We must prepare for the unknown, for the Black Swan of terrorism. Be ready for that of which seems unlikely but may happen. This will save lives.

The Four P’s.



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