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Is the machinery of local policing delivery seen as fit for purpose by practitioners and community members to anticipate and mitigate the risk of harmful radicalisation at street level?
Gale, James Robert
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis achieves four objectives. Firstly, it adds to the existing knowledge of radicalisation: it discusses the concept, and contextualises it within other forms of social phenomena such as drug-related crime. Secondly, it proposes a menu of indicators which predict or forewarn of the risk of radicalisation. Thirdly, it establishes perceptions of success at street level of modern local policing methods, namely Neighbourhood Policing and the National Intelligence Model, at identifying risk. Fourthly, it establishes a ‘toolkit’ of options which might be used by practitioners to ‘switch-off’ the radicalisation process. I argue that urban unrest, radicalisation and terrorism share common roots, with a number of key social pre-conditions existing prior to their onset: a sense of injustice, a lack of political representation, declining perceptions of legitimacy in state authorities, relative deprivation, (which may include unemployment, and a gap between expectation and achievement), discrimination and high levels of drug related crime, and I thus propose a theoretical ladder of escalation. I critically analyse policy responses arising from five seminal events, and I isolate five ‘critical success factors’ from them, suggesting that the problem in general terms is a failure to implement these success factors, thus contributing to the crisis. I revisit ‘tension indicators’ first developed following urban unrest in 1960’s America, and I link them to the critical success factors and the common roots theory. Using quantitative and qualitative primary data which consists largely of face-to-face interviews with community members, police officers, council workers and others involved in the interaction between the state and communities at street level in Oldham, Greater Manchester, I test these proposals and their links. I conclude that Neighbourhood Policing is largely successful; however the National Intelligence Model is flawed in its ability to deliver risk mitigation in this context.
PhD in Politics