What is the Counter Terrorism Advisory Network?
The Counter Terrorism Advisory Network (CTAN) is a national stakeholder engagement forum, which was formed by Counter Terrorism Policing in 2017. It is independently chaired, and its membership consists of survivors of terrorism, academics and researchers, a variety of faith leaders, and members who reach others through community organisations and groups – all of which are independent of policing.
As we have increased our engagement with a number of organisations and individuals across a wide-range of backgrounds, membership of this network has grown from an initial group of 30 to more than 150.
Why was it formed?
UK Policing has a proud history of community engagement, and the success of Counter Terrorism Policing – just like other areas of policing – relies on the trust, confidence and support of all communities. Working alongside these communities, sharing information, and being ready to accept challenge, ideas and new ways of thinking is what helps to build that trust. This is one of the cornerstones of the British policing model.
Counter Terrorism Policing created the CTAN to give us the opportunity to speak directly and indirectly to those affected by terrorism, so they can be a ‘critical friend’ to policing and provide feedback on a variety of issues linked to Counter Terrorism strategy and policy.
What does it hope to achieve?
Throughout 2020 we have been growing and embedding this network into our regional Counter Terrorism Units, so we can listen to feedback from communities across the length and breadth of the country. It enables members, in an advisory capacity, to provide their perspective to help local decision-makers respond to issues which directly impact their communities. Regional perspectives, considered collectively, are also used to help inform areas of our work that require a national or consistent approach across the UK.
Whilst Counter Terrorism Policing is not obliged to act on the feedback of the network, and members are not accountable for decisions taken as a result of their advice, the CTAN supports members in fulfilling the important role of ‘critical friend’ by inviting scrutiny and seeking advice. Consultation events and the contributions of members help us to better understand the potential impact of our policing activities and policies, and where necessary, to make changes to our approach.
It is this collective effort, underpinned by a solid partnership between communities and policing, that will help us learn, evolve, and refine our practices – helping us to improve our protection of the public against the terror threat.