Preventing Violent Extremism Awareness Training: Recruitment


It is important to understand that recruitment to violent extremist groups or adoption of their ideas, happens in different ways at different stages.  How people join and why they join such groups, or become violent, varies from case to case. There are those who are recruited face to face via a charismatic individual, some who self-radicalise alone, whilst others are recruited through membership of gangs or even online targeting, using grooming, intimidation and peer pressure. This is why protecting and safeguarding needs to look at all factors.

Consider the three case studies that follow.

Case Study 1: Nigel was a founding member of the Far Right terrorist group Combat 18


Case Study 2: Sammy went to IS territory in Syria in his summer holidays


Case Study 3: A young woman’s religious conversion was hijacked by ISIS recruiters (running time: 8 mins 17 seconds)



  • Think about the push and pull factors explored earlier. Identify vulnerabilities and the kinds of techniques used to draw the individuals into violent extremism.
  • What kind of intervention could have been made, and at what point?
  • From your professional perspective, what preventative measures might you engage in?


9/11: The Al Qaeda attacks on New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington on 11th September 2001, which triggered President George W Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ and the  wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

7/7: The co-ordinated bomb attacks on London by four young British men in the name of Al Qaeda, on 7th July 2005, which killed 52 people.

Al Qaeda: Terrorist group founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden, which committed the 9/11 attacks.

Islamic State (Daesh/IS/ISIS/ISIL): Terrorist group formed after the fall of Saddam Hussain in Iraq and the civil war in Syria. It is the most prominent recruiter of Westerners to its mission to establish its own state.

CONTEST & the ‘4 Ps’: The British Government’s Counter Terrorism strategy initiated in 2006, revised in 2011, consisting of 4 strands: Prepare, Protect, Prevent and Pursue.

Prevent: Aiming to stop (prevent) individuals from supporting terrorism or becoming terrorists.