The global war on terror and 9/11 have brought to our attention the perpetual problem of freedom versus security. The more governments strive to provide security, the more they tend to curb the freedoms of their citizens. ‘Stop and search’ procedures, 28-day detentions of terrorist suspects without charge or new body scanners at the airports are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in a long list of the state's encroachments into our private lives. This paper departs from such a seemingly inescapable predicament. It analyses the role of the public in preventing, protecting and preparing for terrorist attacks under the British government's counter-terrorism strategy known as CONTEST. It explores two social phenomena that are being increasingly promoted by official authorities in the United Kingdom, namely, mobilisation of society and what the author terms ‘civilianisation’ of security. The latter is defined as a notion relating to non-military, voluntary organisations and the business/private sector, engaged by government but acting in its own right against terrorism threats. ‘Civilianisation’ of security is also conceived of as a potential tool to bridge the gap between two incompatible worlds of state security and personal freedoms.
- United Kingdom (UK)