Domestic Extremism: NOMS Guidance 2009

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This article is part of the Undercover Research Portal - a project of the Undercover Research Group in conjunction with SpinWatch.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is a UK government department within the UK's Ministry of Justice. It is concerned with ensuring people service the sentences handed down by the courts, whether in prison or in the community. As such it oversees both the prison and probation services.[1]

One of its functions is to produce the 'multi-agency public protection arrangements' (MAPPA) Guidance, which deals with how to 'Assess and manage the risks posed by sexual and violent offenders: guidance for the police, prison service and probation trusts'.[2]

It Guidance produced in 2009 (Version 3)[3] provides a telling view of domestic extremism and how it has been handled within the Government as a whole. It is reproduced below. The subsequent version of the Guidance, such as in 2012 (Version 4) much reduced its discussion of domestic extremism and merged it with the section on dealing with those convicted of terrorists offences.[4]

See also:

NOMS 2009 Guidance on Domestic Extremism (pages 152 - 153)

The term ‘Domestic Extremism’ applies to unlawful action that is part of a protest or campaign. It is often associated with ‘single issue’ protests, such as animal rights, far right and far left political extremism, anti-war and environmentalist extremism.
The majority of people involved in single issue protests campaign lawfully. However, there is a small group of individuals who seek to further their cause by committing criminal offences, for example, trespass, theft, malicious communications, blackmail, criminal damage and assault and, at the extreme end, serious crime offences in contravention of the Explosives Acts and, when necessary, in contravention of the terrorism legislation.
The purpose of such illegal actions is often to force change by creating a climate of fear through harassment, intimidation and criminal activity. Domestic Extremism targets victims and their homes as well as business premises. Therefore, it moves beyond the bounds of legitimate protest to intimidate individuals engaged in lawful activity and imposes economic costs on legal businesses with highly personal attacks aimed at repeat victimisation.

All work undertaken with Domestic Extremist offenders is, by its very nature, high profile and the Secretary of State for Ministry of Justice takes a keen interest and is kept informed. There is a requirement on NOMS Headquarters to ensure that the Secretary of State is fully briefed on how NOMS is managing those high profile individuals who have been sentenced for Domestic Extremism.
The cumulative harm posed by many offenders who engage in Domestic Extremism identifies the need for there to be effective management through MAPPA in those cases which require this. Effective communication and victim strategies are essential in these, as in all MAPPA managed cases.

Domestic Extremism does not include offenders who are viewed as terrorists. ... The model developed by the Police National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism identifies five main themes for Domestic Extremists. These themes have been accepted by NOMS for identification purposes. They are:
  • Animal Rights extremism;
  • Environmentalist extremism;
  • Far Right Political extremism;
  • Far Left Political extremism; and
  • Emerging Trends – or any activities that unduly and illegally influence or threaten the economic and community cohesion of the country.
The NOMS Extremism Unit has produced – in conjunction with the police and other stakeholders – a number of useful definitions as an ‘aide memoir’ for staff. A selection that may prove useful in the identification of a Domestic Extremism is reproduced below. […]
  1. Radicalisation – process by which experiences and events in a person’s life cause them to support or engage in violence/illegal conduct to resolve perceived grievances.
  2. Extremist prisoners – prisoners allied to a group that spreads radical views and justifies the use of violence/illegal conduct in pursuit of its objectives.
  3. Animal Rights Extremists – are those who plan or engage in any unlawful act with the intent to disrupt lawful business intimidate or harass, motivated by opposition to the perceived exploitation of animals.
  4. Far Right Wing Extremists – commit criminal activity motivated by a political or cultural viewpoint which includes all of the following: extreme nationalism, racialism, fascism and Neo–Nazism.
  5. Far Left Wing Extremists – commit criminal acts motivated by a political viewpoint which seeks to overthrow the entire political, social and economic system of a state. The agenda of Extreme Left Wing groups is usually revolutionary, anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian – often prescribing a self-proclaimed ‘anarchist’ ideology.
  6. Environmentalist Extremists – commit criminal activity motivated by the broad philosophy and social movement centred on a concern for conservation and improvement of the natural environment.
Where an Offender Manager or agency comes into contact with an offender who has committed an offence which could identify them as a domestic extremist, they should make contact with the local Special Branch police, through their local MAPPA Police Public Protection links, and/or the NOMS Lead for Domestic Extremism to confirm this identification.
Where identification takes place prior to a pre-sentence report being written, a discussion should take place with either the local Special Branch police or the NOMS Lead for Domestic Extremism (direct telephone line: 020 7084 8593), regarding what information can be included in the report.
There are relatively low numbers of such offenders in the criminal justice system; however, the threats posed are often a significant and serious nature. Offenders who engage in criminal acts linked to Domestic Extremism are often part of very sophisticated organisations that have refined their offending over time.


  1. About - National Offender Management Service, Gov.UK, accessed 31 January 2015.
  2. Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA), Gov.UK, accessed 31 January 2015.
  3. National MAPPA Team, MAPPA Guidance 2009 (version 3), 2009. pages 152-153.
  4. National MAPPA Team, MAPPA Guidance 2012 (version 4), 2012, chapter 24, pages 114-118.