1. Introduction

Extremism (represented on both far left and right of the political agenda) is an ideology, particularly in politics or religion, considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of a society or to violate common moral standards. It can be defined as the activities (beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies) of such a person or group.

The term extremist is used to describe groups and individuals who have become radicalised in some way.

Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and violent extremism and, in some cases participate in terrorist groups and activities. Extremism and radicalisation can take many forms including political, religious and economic.

Radicalisation is comparable to other forms of exploitation, such as grooming and child sexual exploitation. Violent extremists often use a persuasive rationale and charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause. The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause. This may be direct through a relationship, or through social media.

Partner agencies of the Safeguarding Adult Board need to:

  • through training and discussion increase the understanding of their staff of radicalisation and it different forms in order to be able to recognise any presenting signs and indicators of an adult with whom they work (or their children);
  • be able to offer a range of interventions – universal, targeted and specialist – and the expertise for these to be applied appropriately;
  • enable their staff to be able to take appropriate action to safeguard adults living with or in direct contact with known extremists.

Whilst a rare event, professionals should be informed that where they is are concerned that a violent attack is imminent or where an adult or member of their family / friend are suspected of possessing weapons or other materials, the professional should contact the police by ringing 999 immediately.

Whilst this chapter concerns adults with whom professionals work, it also applies for any other individual with whom they come into contact with in the course of their work, for example the adult’s child, other family member or friend.

2. Indicators of Radicalisation

There is no clear profile of a person who is more likely to become radicalised. The process of radicalisation varies from person to person, as does the timescale of the radicalisation process. There are, however, some factors that may make an individual more susceptible to exploitation by violent extremists, for example identity or personal crisis, un-employment or under-employment, mental health issues or family or friends involved in extremism. None of these factors should be considered in isolation but in conjunction with the particular circumstances of the individual.

Potential indicators of someone being radicalised include:

  • using inappropriate language;
  • possessing violent extremist literature;
  • changes in their behaviour or beliefs;
  • expressing extremist views;
  • promoting or supporting violent actions;
  • associating with known extremists;
  • attempting to recruit others to their extremist ideology or group.

This list is not exhaustive, and sometimes there may be little indication that someone is being radicalised.

Adults can be exposed to the messages of extremist groups or drawn into violence by a number of means. This can be through direct contact with extremist groups, the internet or through family members or friends.

3. Raising Alerts and Making Referrals

The risk of radicalisation will be the result of a number of different factors. Staff need to use their professional judgement, seeking further advice from managers and / or specialists as required.

Any professional who has any concerns that an adult with whom they work is being radicalised or at risk of such, must raise an alert (see Stage 1: Initial Safeguarding Action).

Where it is suspected that an adult is involved in or is supporting extremist behaviour, a referral must be made to the adult safeguarding team by the organisation’s designated safeguarding lead and the police must also be informed (see also Safeguarding Enquiries in Individual Cases). Further investigation by the police will be required, prior to other assessments being conducted and interventions put in place. The local authority receiving the referral should make contact with its local police lead for Prevent. Information and action taken relating to the case should be clearly recorded in the usual way (see Record Keeping).

Professionals involved in raising such alerts should have an opportunity to debrief with managers, and support be provided as necessary. Practice learning from such cases should be shared with colleagues within the organisation, as well as with partners of the Safeguarding Adult Board.

4. Prevent Strategy

The Prevent Strategy was launched by the Home Office in 2011. Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST and aims to provide support and redirection to vulnerable individuals at risk of being groomed into terrorist activity before any crimes are committed.

Disrupting terrorist activity, preventing radicalisation and supporting those vulnerable to becoming involved in violent extremism is a shared responsibility under Prevent and its related safeguarding element known as Channel (see below). The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on certain bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. This includes:

  • local authorities;
  • schools (excluding higher and further education);
  • further education;
  • higher education;
  • the health sector;
  • prisons and probation;
  • the police.

Greater Manchester Police has a dedicated Prevent Team that works in partnership with all ten local authorities in Greater Manchester. Representatives meet regularly to build relationships with local police officers and other specialist departments, local partners and communities to:

  • increase multi-agency understanding of Prevent;
  • build a shared understanding of threat, risk and vulnerability;
  • work with partners to find common solutions.

Partner engagement is the key to building relationships with organisations and individuals locally who own a stake in managing risk and protecting vulnerable communities and individuals.

For further local information on radicalisation and Prevent see Local Contacts.

5. Channel Panel

See also Protecting Vulnerable People from being Drawn into Terrorism: Statutory Guidance for Channel Panel Members and Partners of Local Panels (HM Government, 2015)

Channel is a key element of the Prevent strategy. It is a multi-agency approach to protect people at risk from radicalisation. Channel uses existing collaboration between local authorities, statutory partners (such as the education and health sectors, social services, children’s and youth services and offender management services), the police and the local community to:

  • identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism;
  • assess the nature and extent of that risk; and
  • develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

The primary intention of Channel is to safeguard children and adults from being encouraged into committing terrorist-related activity. Its aim is to provide early intervention to protect and divert people away from the risk they face before illegality occurs.

The Channel Threshold currently used to assess an individual’s risk of engagement includes any person susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal and environmental factors which may lead to them becoming involved in or or exhibiting violent extremist behaviour. This includes extreme right wing, Islamic extremism, Irish related extremism, extreme left wing and animal rights extremism.

When a referral is received by the police or local authority these are shared between both agencies in order to identify any potential harm, risk or threat. The local authority will then convene and chair a Channel Panel, inviting all relevant agencies engaging with that individual or family.

At present the Trafford Channel Panel meets monthly to discuss referrals and determine the appropriate support required. The Trafford Channel Panel is overseen by the Trafford Prevent Strategic Board.