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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

“Trust your instincts – act!” PREVENT police officers’ perspectives of counter-radicalisation reporting thresholds

Dresser, Paul (2019) “Trust your instincts – act!” PREVENT police officers’ perspectives of counter-radicalisation reporting thresholds. In: Violent (and not-so-violent) Extremism and Hate: Causes, Cases, Consternations?, 11/07/19, Armstrong Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


The UK PREVENT programme aims to address radicalisation by identifying and supporting “at risk” individuals that are deemed vulnerable to extremism. Central to this process is the willingness of professional practitioners to report information to authorities, a duty consolidated through the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Despite this, little is known about the thresholds to report from PREVENT police officers' accounts. Drawing upon qualitative fieldwork conducted with a PREVENT police team, this paper explores the reporting stage of PREVENT. A thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews identified the mobilisation of intelligence on the basis of “gut feelings” and “instinct”. Professional partners were encouraged to trust their own
subjective judgements in the absence of observable risk indicators and tangible evidence. In turn, a relatable (and simplified) risk logic was said to align PREVENT police officers with nonspecialist actors. The findings are supported by an examination of national counterterrorism
policing campaigns, PREVENT briefing documents, and Home Office initiatives. The paper concludes by highlighting the implications of risk assessment driven by subjective feeling(s).

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More Information

Depositing User: Paul Dresser


Item ID: 10954
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1753-9161
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Paul Dresser: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2019 10:26
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:08


Author: Paul Dresser ORCID iD
Author: Paul Dresser

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology
Social Sciences > Sociology

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