UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science


The Project

Responding to the evolution of the terrorism landscape

The 22 July 2011 bombing and mass shooting in Oslo carried out by Anders Behring Breivik was a shocking reminder of the threat posed by lone extremists. In a testimony before the US Congress, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta observed that so-called 'lone-wolves' now stood as the security threat which deserved the most attention from security services. Out of 43 home-grown Jihadist plots uncovered in the United States since 2001, 4 resulted in fatalities. None of the successful plots were carried out by groups. All were the product of lone actor extremist action.

Like group-based terrorism, lone actor extremism spans the ideological spectrum, from right-wing to Al-Qaeda-influenced. Although it is important to recognise that the majority of lone extremists fail to carry out attacks as destructive as that orchestrated by Anders Breivik, their actions have the potential to result in significant loss of life, and to be highly damaging to local and national communities. Therefore, the risk posed by these individuals must be addressed.

The main purpose of the PRIME project is to deliver a knowledge-base capable of informing the development of counter-measures to defend against lone actor extremist events. Concretely, PRIME aims to inform the design of social and scientific technologies for the prevention, interdiction and mitigation of attacks carried out by lone extremists, through the development of a multi-stage, cross-level model of lone actor extremist events. 

The PRIME project's foremost ambition is to support local and national stakeholders so that they can better prevent, prepare against, and protect themselves from the potentially devastating consequences of lone actor extremism.