LondonA joint statement signed by 150 academics and psychologists including Professors Noam Chomsky and Marc Sageman, poses important questions about the ‘scientific’ studies underpinning the government’s controversial PREVENT policy.

This is the first time the ‘science’ behind the government’s radicalisation theory has been identified and with its revelation it has been called into question by professionals in the field because it was not subject to proper scientific scrutiny or public critique.

The Extremism Risk Guidance 22+ (ERG22+) framework is being used  to assess the risk of ‘radicalisation’ and influence referrals to the Channel programme.

More than 500,000 public servants have been placed under duty to implement it. We know of 34 cases where children have been either removed, or threatened to be removed from their families based on this flawed assessment tool.

The joint statement follows a report The ‘Science’ of Pre-Crime by CAGE, which provides the only critique of the ERG22+, based on a journal article published by two former psychologists employed at the UK Nationals Offenders Management Service (NOMS). The actual scientific study is classified.

The report finds the following:

• The study’s conclusions have been implemented far beyond the original intention.
• A process that should have only ever been used by experts in a limited circumstance has been opened up to the entire public sector.
• Political context was omitted as a specific factor, despite the authors having been recommended not to leave it out.

CAGE spokesperson Ibrahim Mohamoud said:

“Even the authors of the study recognise that the ERG22+ cannot be used as a predictive tool, but in the hands of the Home Office, the study, which took as its subjects prisoners convicted of terrorism charges, has been extended to predict the behaviour of individuals beyond a prison environment. Now, more than ever, PREVENT as a policy needs to be scrapped.”

“Their claim in 2015 that the ERG22+ is still a, “work in progress”, is extremely disconcerting as the tool has real world consequences. Not only have children been removed from their families, but legal judgements have been made based on the ERG22+.”

“The fact that the government saw it fit to place on a statutory footing, a tool that has not been subject to sufficient scientific scrutiny, should be of grave concern not only to the psychology profession itself, but to the communities it targets, and the individuals who have subjected to being ‘lab rats’ in the government’s broader counter terrorism agenda.”

Read more: The ‘science’ of pre-crime: The secret ‘radicalisation’ study underpinning PREVENT


(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)