The local prevention of terrorism in strategy and practice: ‘CONTEST’ a new era in the fight against terrorism

Skoczylis, Joshua (2014) The local prevention of terrorism in strategy and practice: ‘CONTEST’ a new era in the fight against terrorism. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


The thesis evaluates the impact the inclusion of Prevent had on CONTEST, the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, both in terms of innovative and tension which arose throughout the three stages of the policy process: its formation, implementation and social impacts. Many of the tensions identified are not unique to Prevent and appear to be inherent in prevention and policing policies more generally. The thesis relies on qualitative interviews with national policy makers, and local professionals in a case study area in the North of England, as well as focus groups with members of Muslim communities in the same case study area. Three broad areas of tensions were identified. The first policy tensions centred on the debate about how to prevent violent extremism, communication of the strategy and the merits of excluding community cohesion as a means of tackling extremism per se. The majority of the national policy makers, including senior police officers and local professionals, agreed that contrary to the Prevent Review 2011, community cohesion should remain an integral part of Prevent. Secondly, there are organizational tensions. These tensions mainly relate to inter- and intra-organizational issues such as funding, information-sharing and evaluation. One of the main areas of conflict identified was the relationship between the national and local authorities. Thirdly, the thesis identified tensions relating to Prevent’s impact on the local community. This thesis suggests that Prevent had little influence, and that most perceptions about counter-terrorism and Prevent were shaped by negative political and media discourse about Islam and British Muslim communities. This has led to disengagement amongst the Muslim communities in the case study area with Prevent and local authorities in general, the limiting of freedom of expression through external social control, and the inability/unwillingness of these communities to tackle such extremism as might exist in their midst.

Keywords:Terrorism, counter-terrorism, Prevent, policing, Crime Prevention, marginalised communities
Subjects:L Social studies > L435 Security Policy
L Social studies > L400 Social Policy
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:13411
Deposited On:23 Feb 2014 18:19

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