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Hiding in plain sight? Disguised compliance by terrorist offenders

Terrorism & radicalisation / DISCUSSION PAPER
Amanda Paul , Ian Acheson

Date: 09/11/2021
This Discussion Paper, co-authored by Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst at the EPC and Professor Ian Acheson, Senior Advisor to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), examines how terrorist prisoners engage in ‘disguised compliance’, whereby they successfully deceive the professionals involved in their de-radicalisation. As evidence emerges across Europe that this tactic is a growing threat and that terrorist prisoners are actively misleading those concerned with their rehabilitation to gain the opportunity to attack again, this paper provides practical recommendations on how this growing risk can be tackled.

The authors found that current approaches to the risk management of violent extremists are reactive, generic and mechanistic. They rely too much on collaboration and devalue frontline professional intuition, which makes us less safe. The report advocates an assertive blended approach that includes new technologies and integrity- and 'sense-checking’ by a team of practitioners.

This approach is more expensive and probably longer-term than the standard approach. Nevertheless, the political and human price of deceptive terrorists falling through the rehabilitation net to harm again is incalculable.

Read the CEP-EPC press release here.

Read the full paper here.
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