Counter-Radicalisation Through Safeguarding: A Political Analysis of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015)


  • Paul Dresser Department of Criminology, University of Sunderland


PREVENT, PREVENT Duty, radicalisation, safeguarding, , political analysis


The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) mandates specified authorities to demonstrate due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism; what is better known as the ‘PREVENT Duty’. As part of this duty, public sector workers are required to identify a person’s proclivity for radicalisation, and, in turn, report concerns as a safeguarding measure. Drawing upon Rose and Miller’s matrix of political analysis, this article explores the PREVENT Duty through three theoretical areas: political rationalities; problematisations; and technologies of government. Framing the CTSA as a political rationality helps conceptualise the justifications and exercise of power in and between diverse authorities. Central to this is the way problematisations of risks connect to forms of knowledge, practices and technologies which become reproblematised and (de)politicised to create (un)stable assemblages of (in)security. The utility of governmental technologies helps situate PREVENT as it permeates the actuarial practices of mundane social care environments. Related to this, I draw attention to the governance of PREVENT which, I argue, is realised discursively through language. Through these theoretical frameworks I explore PREVENT as having undergone a process of rectification; this entails the mutation of PREVENT towards safeguarding. At a broader level, this article contributes to a reconstituted understanding of PREVENT by examining the intertwining of social care structures and counter-radicalisation.


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