Radicalisation and Extremism

Acts of terrorism and radicalisation destroy communities and lives, causing deaths and injuries to many and leaving communities living in fear and sometimes divided by hatred and confusion.
Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies.

This powerful video (Prevent: An Introduction) illustrates the impact radicalisation can have on families when someone they love is radicalised.


Prevent is about keeping people and communities safe from the threat of terrorism. 
Prevent is one of the four elements of Counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) 2018, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to reduce the risk from terrorism, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.

The three other elements of CONTEST are:

  1. Pursue (to stop terrorists attacks),
  2. Protect (to strengthen our protection against terrorists attacks) and 
  3. Prepare (when an attack occurs to mitigate its impact). 

Prevent objectives are to: 

  • Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism
  • Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support
  • Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate

The Prevent strategy challenges extremism by:

  • Supporting people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist or extremist activity.
  • Working with and supporting community groups and social enterprise projects that provide support to vulnerable people.
  • Working with faith groups and institutions to assist them in providing support and guidance to people who may be vulnerable.
  • Supporting local schools, local industry and partner agencies through engagement, advice and training.

Report your concerns

If you are concerned about someone’s activities or behaviour, you can call the Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321 (it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week).  If you have seen a person acting suspiciously, or if you see a vehicle, unattended package or bag which might be a threat, immediately move away and call 999.  
You can report illegal or harmful information, pictures or videos you’ve found on the internet anonymously on the Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism page on the GOV.UK website.  If you are concerned about someone becoming radicalised in your community please contact the local police by dialling 101 and ask for the PREVENT team.

ACT Early

Friends and family are often best placed to spot the signs of radicalisation. 

ACT Early is an initiative designed to provide practical help and information about preventing terrorism. The website encourages families and friends to report concerns that a loved one may be vulnerable to radicalisation and provides information on spotting the signs of potential radicalisation.

If you are worried that someone you know is being radicalised, please call the national police Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764.

ACT early and share your concerns confidentially.  You won’t be wasting time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.

Free ACT Awareness E-Learning

An award-winning counter terrorism (CT) online training course is now available to the public. Please consider signing up to become a 'CT Citizen' to help protect the UK. The ACT Awareness E-Learning has been devised by counter terrorism officers and security experts to enable you to learn how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and understand what to do in the event of a major incident. 

As the pandemic restrictions ease and more people returning to towns and cities, it is even more vital to return to being vigilant when you are out and about.  The course consists of seven interactive modules that each take a few minutes to complete.  You can pause and re-join at any time.  In total, it takes just 45 minutes to complete.

Register for the ACT Awareness E-Learning course

Useful links

The following websites also provide further information and advice about counter terrorism and radicalisation.