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News New research to protect public from violent extremists

The Counter Extremism Project and Staffordshire University are undertaking research to shed new light on the intentions of violent extremists.

Professor James Treadwell and Visiting Professor Ian Acheson
Image: Professor James Treadwell and Visiting Professor Ian Acheson

Recent horrific cases have demonstrated the importance of focusing on new ways to tackle crime and increase security that draws on our vast experience in criminology, crime science, criminalistics and law and policing.

James Treadwell, Professor of Criminology

The ‘Disguised compliance in terrorist offending’ project will provide frontline staff across UK security agencies with the best tools and approaches to assess the true intention of people motivated to acts of violence by ideologies.

The research finding will be valuable to those who interrogate suspects and gather intelligence. The project, led by international extremism expert  and Visiting Professor Ian Acheson and Criminology Professor James Treadwell, will also seek to assess the risk of convicted terrorists who are reintegrated into the community after serving prison sentences.

CEP’s Executive Director, David Ibsen, said: “I’m excited that we have been able to partner on this project. The Counter Extremism Project has been at the forefront of international research to protect citizens against terrorism but this project is the first of its kind in the UK.

“The attacks in the UK last December and emerging news from Vienna just last week demonstrate the urgent need for the security agencies to have the best techniques to assess the credibility of extremists. They are faced with sophisticated offenders and have to make risk-based decisions every day which have massive implications for public safety.”

Staffordshire University Professor James Treadwell added: “Recent horrific cases have demonstrated the importance of focusing on new ways to tackle crime and increase security that draws on our vast experience in criminology, crime science, criminalistics and law and policing.”

The 12-month project will consist of two phases. Phase 1 involves gathering evidence on the existing literature, skills and techniques used to counter deception. Phase 2 will consolidate this work and emerging trends/challenges and translate this into a field guide for use by practitioners.

Professor Claire Gwinnett, Director of the Centre for Crime Justice and Security at Staffordshire University, commented: “We hope that our research, combined with the expertise of the Counter Extremism Project, can make a practical difference to protection and safety of communities here in Staffordshire and around the world.”

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