Far-right extremism

The problem with deradicalisation

Is it possible to ‘deradicalise’ terrorists? Jonathan Hall QC, the government’s terror watchdog, doesn’t think so. He may have a point, but it’s complicated. One of the institutional problems we have is a sort of misplaced arrogance based, in part, on the historic experience of counter-insurgency against violent Irish republicans. Until quite recently, the Ministry of Justice press office referred to our prison deradicalisation processes as ‘world-class.’ Hall himself only recently began looking at our distinctly Heath-Robinson terrorist risk management ‘system’ after London Bridge killer Usman Khan ran rings around it. Having enumerated its many obvious defects, he bizarrely concluded it was pretty much fit for purpose. The IRA were enthusiastic human rights violators — but not even