Comparing crime prevention, countering extremism and social policies in Europe

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Warwick

In Collaboration With

Funded by the European Research Council, #851022

Principal Researcher

Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly

Level of Research

Professional / Work-based

Project Start Date

February 2020

Research Context

In many European countries, doctors, nurses and social workers are now asked to make safeguarding referrals concerning clients they feel are radicalising/vulnerable to radicalisation. As this is not a traditional professional duty for care professionals, the project investigates how and why national security has become part of the professional duties of health and social care workers. The project's hypothesis is that the growth of crime prevention policy in many countries has facilitated this shift, reorganising professional duties around prevention of terrorism and intervention with vulnerable people. The project will also investigate structural factors such as GDP, economic policy type, and previous experience of terrorist attacks as potential factors which might drive national policy implementation.

This research involves both qualitative and quantitative packages. The researchers are undertaking quantitative analysis of levels of P/CVE and crime prevention implementation in 40 countries, to test what drives their implementation. Primarily expert surveys will be used to collect this data on crime prevention and P/CVE in each nation. Qualitative research methods will also be used to explore how International Organisations have facilitated the policy transfer of crime prevention and P/CVE between nations. Finally, a detailed case study research will be undertaken in 6 European nations to explore how P/CVE duties are being integrated into existing crime prevention and safeguarding structures.

The objectives are to understand:

  1. the variation between nations in P/CVE implementation;

  2. whether this variation can be explained by structural factors, or by prior implementation of significant crime prevention policies;

  3. how International Organisations have facilitated the transfer of crime prevention and P/CVE between nations; &

  4. how P/CVE is implemented within Health and Social care in 6 case study nations.

Research Methodology

For the quantitative work package, the sample size extends to nearly forty countries - across Europe, North America and Australasia. Expert surveys have been used to collect data on the implementation of crime prevention and P/CVE policies in each participating country, building an index of implementation. Given the significant variation in the extent of policy implementation between nations, the researchers are now testing the impact of economic policies, experience of previous terrorist attacks, pre-existing crime prevention policies, and population demographics to understand what drives nations to implement P/CVE policies.

The qualitative work package will focus on both the international and national levels of policy implementation. A large-scale discourse analysis is being conducted of how International Organisations (such as the UN, OSCE, EU and Council of Europe) have facilitated the transfer of both crime prevention and P/CVE policies between nations. This involves mapping the historical development of crime prevention across each International Organisation, before analysing the moment when anticipatory prevention logics crossover into counter-terrorism work.

At the national level, case study research will be used to probe more extensively into the implementation of P/CVE in Health and Social care across 6 nations in Europe. Here the researchers will undertake interviews with practitioners and policymakers, as well as documentary research into policy development and parliamentary debates, to understand how P/CVE has been situated within a social policy mandate.

Interim reports and publications

​Publications, reports and project news can be found on the project website

Date due for completion

January 2025
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