What is Exploitation by Radicalisers?

The following are part of the UK government’s counter terrorist strategy, referred to as CONTEST.

Protecting the UK against Terrorism

The Prevent Strategy 2011

The Prevent Strategy: A Guide for Local Partners in England. Stopping people becoming or supporting terrorists and violent extremists

Recognising and Responding to Radicalisation: Considerations for Policy and Practice through the Eyes of Street Level Workers

The Channel Strategy: Protecting vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism.


Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups.

There is no obvious profile of a person likely to become involved in extremism or a single indicator of when a person might move to adopt violence in support of extremist ideas. The process of radicalisation is different for every individual and can take place over an extended period or within a very short time frame.

Three main areas of concern have been identified for initial attention in developing the awareness and understanding of how to recognise and respond to the increasing threat of people being radicalised:

  • Increasing understanding of radicalisation and the various forms it might take, thereby enhancing the skills and abilities to recognise signs and indicators amongst all staff working with adults;
  • Identifying a range of interventions – universal, targeted and specialist – and the expertise to apply these proportionately and appropriately;
  • Taking appropriate measures to safeguard the wellbeing of adults living with or in direct contact with known extremists.

Understanding and Recognising Risks and Vulnerabilities of Radicalisation

Adults can be drawn into violence or they can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups by many means.

These can include through the influence of family members or friends and/or direct contact with extremist groups and organisations or, increasingly, through the internet. This can put a person at risk of being drawn into criminal activity and has the potential to cause significant harm to themselves and/or the public.

The risk of radicalisation is the product of a number of factors and identifying this risk requires that staff exercise their professional judgement, seeking further advice as necessary. It may be combined with other vulnerabilities or may be the only risk identified.

Potential indicators include:

  • Use of inappropriate language;
  • Possession of violent extremist literature;
  • Behavioural changes;
  • Dress codes and tattoos
  • Inappropriate use of social media or access to extreme web sites
  • Inappropriate behaviour towards some members of the community
  • The expression of extremist views;
  • Advocating violent actions and means;
  • Association with known extremists;
  • Seeking to recruit others to an extremist ideology.

Each local area will have a Prevent coordinator who should be contacted to

  • Share information
  • Assess the risks
  • Agree a management plan

If there are concerns related to an adult being targeted for radicalisation, the police should be contacted and an Alert raised under mPart 2 of the Manual, The Safeguarding Process - Management of Individual Cases.