UCL Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science



Modelling lone actor extremist events using innovative techniques. The fundamental aim of the PRIME project is to produce a model of lone actor extremist events, which allows for the clear organisation of what is known about the factors and processes which give rise to these events, at multiple levels of analysis (individual, social ecological or situational, and systemic), and along the three main stages which characterise these events: radicalisation, attack preparation, and attack.

The main purpose of the model is to enable the identification of intervention points or "pinch points", at which counter-measures can be introduced to prevent (radicalisation), interdict (attack preparation) or mitigate (attacks).

To produce such a model, historical data will be collected on lone actor extremist events. Organising and analysing complex and disparate data relative to the three key stages involved in these events at multiple levels of analysis will require the development of a scientific modelling technique (a formal scripting technique based on the existing approach known as crime scripting), in order to generate multi-track, sequential scripts of LAEEs.

The process involved in the production of the script and the formulation of counter-measures will then be validated step-by-step by involving expert advisors and end-users in the assessment of the project's methods, tools and outcomes.

More specifically, the PRIME project's scientific objectives are as follows:

  • Objective 1: Characterise 1) the risk posed by the activities of lone actor extremists, and 2) the context in which measures to defend against lone actor extremism may be implemented.
  • Objective 2: Produce a cross-level risk analysis framework within which to articulate the key factors and processes implicated in lone actor extremist events, across all stages of the event (radicalisation, attack preparation, attack).
  • Objective 3: Translate the risk analysis framework into a meta-model (meta-script) of lone actor extremist events, and develop the methodology and techniques to produce empirically-supported scripts.
  • Objective 4: Produce an empirically-supported, multi-stage, cross-level script of lone actor extremist events and identify categories of intervention points or 'pinch points'.
  • Objective 5: Deliver a portfolio of requirements for the design of measures for the prevention, interdiction and mitigation of lone actor extremist events, informed by the analysis of the event script and an understanding of the context in which these measures may be implemented.
  • Objective 6: Deliver a portfolio of requirements for communication measures directed at a diverse audience (extremists, public and private stakeholders, civil society at large) at each stage of the script, in coordination with the portfolio of counter-measures.