Can you identify violent extremists using a screening checklist and open-source intelligence alone?



Egan, Vince, Cole, Jon, Cole, Ben, Alison, laurence, Alison, emily, Elntib, stamatis and Waring, SK ORCID: 0000-0003-1625-5705
(2016) Can you identify violent extremists using a screening checklist and open-source intelligence alone? Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, 3 (1). 21 - 36.

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Abstract

Checklist-based screening instruments have a role in the assessment of mentally disordered and criminal offenders, but their value for screening for vulnerability to violent extremism remains moot. This study examined the effectiveness of using the Identifying Vulnerable People (IVP) guidance to identify serious violence in persons convicted or killed in the process of committing a violent-extremist offense using open-source intelligence (i.e., publicly available archival material). Of 182 specific participants identified, specific offense data was available for 157 individuals. Blind kappas for individual items of the 16-item IVP guidance ranged from 0.67 to 1.00. IVP guidance was more reliable when applied to conventional terrorist groups, but missing information significantly reduced reliability. Weighting items thought more central to violent extremism (death rhetoric, extremist group membership, contact with recruiters, advanced paramilitary training, overseas combat) did not improve reliability or prediction. Although the total unweighted IVP score predicted some acts of violence, test effectiveness statistics suggested IVP guidance was most effective as a negative predictor of grave outcomes, and best applicable to conventional ideological violent extremists who came to this position through typical “terrorist” trajec- tories. Results suggest the IVP guidance has potential value as an initial screening tool, but must be applied appropriately to persons of interest, is strongly dependent on the integrity and completeness of information, and does not supercede human-led risk assessment of the case and acute risk states.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: violent extremism, terrorism, risk assessment, ideology, school shooters
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2018 09:39
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 11:19
DOI: 10.1037/tam0000058
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3020258