We are always looking for ways to improve, to ensure our products and campaigns are effective for everyone. With the advent of Martyn’s Law, this will be even more important as public participation and exposure to counter terrorism (CT) protective security will increase.
To better understand how our awareness products and campaigns have been received and understood by the public, the Research and Product Development Unit (R&PDU) in the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) have been dedicated to the exploration of this topic through the available academic literature. Early research efforts found a significant lack of studies evaluating current and official protective security products and campaigns – with even less material available on the unintended consequences of such offerings.
Given the lack of research, and the increasing importance of this area, the R&PDU made the decision to commission Northumbria University to identify the impact of NaCTSO’s public-facing products and campaigns, including any unintended consequences on minority groups. The research also included review of selected public-facing National Protective Security Authority (NPSA, formerly CPNI) products.
The research took place in between 2022 and 2023, and involved a mixed-methods approach. This gives a holistic view of how public perceptions and outcomes may differ from the intended message. The outcomes of this research offered both challenge and support to the existing literature, including recommendations for change and improvement.
The R&PDU and ProtectUK have already begun to consider the recommendations provided in the research. This has included providing more clarity around our terminology by updating our description of ‘Islamist Terrorism’, and reviewing our products to improve delivery and diversity awareness.
To read more about the research and the findings, you can find the executive summary here.