Far-Right Extremism and the Security Forces

This project seeks to analyse the potential drivers of far-right extremism within the security forces, with a special focus on the impact of hypermasculinity.

While there is increased concern about the spread of far-right extremism within the security forces, the development of effective prevention and countering strategies requires a better understanding of potential drivers in this context. Our project uses a feminist perspective to synthesise the available evidence on how educated, hyper-masculinised cultural mindsets and organisational experience can provide a familiar pathway to far-right extremism for some.

The analysis is framed around case studies in the US, Germany and the UK, where the most publicly-available information exists on the current level of threat within the military and police.

Project sponsors

Airey Neave Trust

Aims and objectives

The project seeks to investigate and make recommendations on addressing the growing concern about extremist infiltration of security forces (including the military and police), as well as drivers of radicalisation within the ranks of current and former security forces members.

Through in-depth research, it aims to:

  • Analyse the cultural and organisational familiarities that might create pathways for some security forces members into extremist ideologies and organisations.
  • Identify the attributes present in security forces that might make them the targets of infiltration or recruitment strategies.

Based on this analysis, it aims to:

  • Make recommendations for security forces on ways in which they might need to tailor their preventing or countering violent extremism strategies for their members.
  • Advise on how fundamental cultural approaches might need to be reconsidered and addressed.
  • Highlight how issues such as transparency and vetting processes for extremist ideology must be enforced, in order to protect our security forces from infiltration and maintain the public trust they require to accomplish their mission.

The project does not aim to stigmatise the service of security forces members. Rather, it seeks to boost awareness and resilience.

We will publish a series of research articles, culminating in a report that will make recommendations to the security forces on their vetting strategies.

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