chapter  3
17 Pages

How (not) to create ex-terrorists

Prevent as ideological warfare
WithPhil Edwards

This chapter reviews the current state of the Prevent programme. It argues that the government's approach to counter-terrorism has been characterised by two distinct models of radicalisation and de-radicalisation, the key distinguishing factor being the salience given to ideological as distinct from social factors. 'Radicalisation' was redefined as 'the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, then to join terrorist groups', the goal of Prevent was 'to stop radicalisation, reducing support for terrorism and discouraging people from becoming terrorists'. The more complex model of radicalisation, reflected in the 2011 version of Prevent, suggests that radicalisation is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for terrorist recruitment. The relative salience of subjective and social factors in desistance from crime may be informative in identifying the factors likely to succeed in dissuading potential terrorists from becoming active, and hence the appropriateness of either the simple or the complex Prevent model.