Psychologist behind Britain’s terrorist deradicalisation scheme says there is NO guarantee offenders can ever be ‘CURED’ or pose no threat to society
- Christopher Dean said we must be ‘careful’ about saying extremism is ‘cured’
- Mr Dean is the psychologist behind the Healthy Identity Intervention scheme
- He said some offenders who take part regress afterwards due who they mix with
- London Bridge killer attended a deradicalisation programme while on licence
- Lee Rigby’s killer is now reportedly an unofficial mentor in such a programme
Deradicalisation programmes are not guaranteed to ‘cure’ those who undergo them, the psychologist behind the UK’s main such scheme has said.
Christopher Dean said some offenders who take part in his Healthy Identity Intervention scheme regress afterwards due to complex reasons such as who they mix with.
Mr Dean said some offenders he worked with needed 20 or more sessions to show signs of positive change – and there is still no guarantee of success.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Mr Dean said: ‘I think we have to be very careful about ever saying that somebody no longer presents a risk of committing an offence. I don’t think you can ever be sure.
‘We have to be very careful about saying someone has totally changed or has been cured.’
London Bridge killer Usman Khan attended a deradicalisation programme after being released on licence.
London Bridge killer Usman Khan, left, attended a deradicalisation programme after being released on licence. Last month it was reported that Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo, right, is part of a deradicalisation programme in the jail where Khan was an inmate
Khan was a convicted terrorist who had been a member of an al Qaida-inspired group that plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange.
The 28-year-old killed two people and injured three others in a knife rampage before being shot dead by police in November.
He had been released from prison on licence in December 2018, by which time Khan reportedly appeared to be responding to rehabilitation.
And last month it was reported that Fusilier Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo is part of a deradicalisation programme in the jail where Khan was an inmate.
Adebolajo, 34, is acting as an unofficial mentor to inmates at HMP Woodhill in Buckinghamshire, from which Khan was released in December last year, according to The Sun on Sunday.
He is serving a life sentence for the horrific murder of Drummer Rigby in 2013.
Adebolajo was reported to have renounced extremism last year and apologised to the soldier’s family, claiming he had been ‘brainwashed’ and ‘misinterpreted the Koran’.
Forensic officers at the scene of the terror attack on London Bridge. Khan was a convicted terrorist who had been a member of an al Qaida-inspired group that plotted to blow up the London Stock Exchange
Police on Cannon Street with dogs near the scene of the terror attack on London Bridge
Mr Dean said the two main aims of Healthy Identity Intervention were to make individuals less willing or prepared to commit offences on behalf of a ‘violent extremist group cause or ideology’.
He added: ‘If we can reduce someone’s relationship or identification with a particular group, cause or ideology, that in itself may have an impact on whether they’re willing to offend or not.
‘We see some individuals who may have been part of a group for many years or have been invested or identified with the cause for many years. [Leaving that group] is an incredibly difficult thing to do.’