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Terrorist Profiling and Law Enforcement: Detection, Prevention, Deterrence

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

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Abstract

This book has been written with the primary readership in mind being academics,
students at undergraduate and postgraduate (taught and research) levels,
practitioners and law enforcement officers.

A key trend in law and policy aimed at combatting terrorism is the increasing use of policing strategies that allow law enforcement officers anticipate risk so that they can engage in preventing, interrupting and prosecuting those suspected of terrorism offences before their commission. One such pre-emptive policing strategy is the use of terrorist profiling.

The rationale underpinning terrorist profiling is to allow law enforcement officers identify those likely to involved in terrorism or its associated activities so that law enforcement officers can prevent, interrupt and prosecute suspects before an act of terrorism. The use of terrorist profiling is highly controversial given that its use has been perceived as being unlawful. Previous attempts at analysing terrorist profiling has tended to rely solely on human rights law as the analytical lens to evaluate the usefulness and lawfulness of terrorist profiling.

The discussion in this book argues that the effectiveness and usefulness of terrorist profiling should only be undertaken by deconstructing the profiling process so as to allow a thorough examination of the phenomenon of terrorist profiling. As a result, the discussion in this book establishes two analytical lenses as the basis to systematically examine terrorist profiling.

Firstly, the discussion develops an effectiveness framework that examines the construction of terrorist profiles separately from the application of terrorist profiles. Secondly, the discussion also draws upon criminal profiling methodologies and approaches as the basis to evaluate different manifestations of terrorist profiling.

These analytical lenses are used to conduct a taxonomy on different manifestations of terrorist profiling so as to systematically evaluate their usefulness as a law enforcement tool to predict likely terrorist characteristics.

Bibliographic note

Noel McGuirk is a Lecturer in Law specialising in terrorism law at Lancaster University Law School. Previously, Noel was a judicial research assistant at the Courts Service (Ireland) based in the Court of Appeal and worked on various research projects during his tenure. Noel’s research interests broadly focus on the relationship between terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights law. He is particularly interested in analysing legal responses to terrorism that have been adopted by various states to assist in preventing, detecting and deterring terrorism threats.