Plotting Terror: CST’s New UK Terrorism Databases and Challenges in Assessing Terror Threats

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This webinar marks the launch of two terrorism databases by the Community Security Trust (CST) tracking terror attacks and foiled plots in the UK. These are a unique resource for researchers, practitioners and members of the public to keep track of terrorist incidents and trends.


Studying both terrorist attacks and foiled plots is essential to forming an accurate picture of the security landscape. UK authorities regularly provide figures on foiled attack plots, but they do not publish detailed lists of the plots that make up those statistics. The absence of such a record makes it difficult for researchers and other stakeholders to keep track of these incidents and assess underlying trends in contemporary terrorism. Especially challenging is keeping a record of foiled plots, since many cases may not be obvious or easy to classify.

CST’s new databases simplify the process and fill this gap by summarising and classifying thwarted plots and attacks, thereby allowing users to filter through and search for different trends and patterns. The databases are designed to be relevant to a wide audience, ranging from those eager to engage in more nuanced debates to those seeking straightforward answers to common questions on attack methods, target selections, ideological motives and more.

Suzanne Raine, Visiting Professor at King's College London and former Head of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), will open our discussion with reflections on the challenges of making assessments on terrorist threats. She will address the difficulties of identifying and counting terrorist incidents and the implications of these handicaps for terrorism analysis.

Eran Benedek, CST’s senior threats analyst, will introduce the terrorism databases and explain the motives, methods and rationale behind the project. His presentation will set the database effort in the context of CST’s core work of protecting the UK Jewish community from antisemitism and extremism, as well as CST’s partnerships across government, police and civil society for countering hate crime and extremism.

The event will be chaired by Emily Winterbotham, Director of RUSI’s Terrorism and Conflict group, who will also provide her perspectives based on years of field and research experience.

About the Speakers:

Suzanne Raine served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1995–2019, including postings in Poland, Iraq (2003) and Pakistan (2006–9). She worked primarily on national security issues and specialised in counterterrorism, holding a number of senior domestic appointments including Head of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre from 2015–17. She was also a senior member of HMG’s assessment community, and is particularly interested in the role of assessment in strategic decision-making at a time of crisis. She is now a Visiting Professor at King's College London and a Trustee of RUSI, as well as the Imperial War Museum.

Eran Benedek is a senior analyst at CST’s Research and Analysis Hub and focuses on antisemitism, terrorism and extremism. He has written numerous CST research briefings and assessments on related topics, including global trends in anti-Jewish terrorism, Iranian and Hezbollah terrorist methods, and lessons learned from terrorist attacks. Eran manages CST’s terrorism databases and its monthly Threat Update, a unique newsletter rounding up key developments in terrorism and extremism. His articles have been published in CTC Sentinel (West Point), Jewish Political Studies Review and Foreign Policy, and by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT). He holds an MSc in Nationalism and Ethnicity from the London School of Economics.

Emily Winterbotham is the Director of the Terrorism and Conflict research group at RUSI. Emily’s research focuses on terrorism and counterterrorism, including preventing violent extremism, and international interventions in conflict and fragile states. Emily brings around 15 years of desk and field experience in an international policymaking environment, including over a decade of working in and on conflict. Emily is the author of numerous articles and is the co-author of Countering Violent Extremism: Making Gender Matter (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and Conflict, Violent Extremism and Development: New Challenges, New Responses (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

How to attend

To take part you must pre-register here. You will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, please email research@cst.org.uk.



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