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Factsheet: Desistance and Disengagement Programme

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This factsheet was updated in February 2023.

The purpose of the Desistance and Disengagement Programme (DDP) is to help manage the risk of individuals who have been involved in terrorism or terrorism related activity.  The programme works to reduce the risk they pose to the UK by providing one-to-one rehabilitative support using specialist intervention providers.

What is the DDP?

  • The DDP launched in October 2016.
  • The initial pilot provided rehabilitative support to individuals on probation licence, following conviction for a Terrorism Act (TACT) or TACT-connected offence.
  • The programme expanded shortly thereafter to include those on Terrorism Prevention Investigation Measures (TPIMs) and Temporary Exclusion Orders (TEOs). [1]
  • In December 2018, a prison strand was established for individuals convicted of TACT or TACT-connected offences [2] and other offenders who may present a terrorist-risk.

What does the DDP do?

  • The programme works to provide tailored interventions that support individuals to stop participating in terrorism-related activity (desist) and to move away from terrorist ideology and ways of thinking (disengage).
  • Interventions are designed to provide the best possible means for these individuals to disengage from terrorism and reintegrate safely back into society.
  • Support is delivered by specialist Intervention Providers (IPs).
  • The IPs provide a range of intensive, tailored interventions including mentoring, theological, ideological and practical support, working to reduce the offending risk through direct engagement with the offender.

How does it work?

  • The programme works with independent suppliers and selected Prison chaplaincy staff who provide a range of support and rehabilitation skills.
  • Intervention Providers are onboarded through a rigorous selection and vetting process before they can provide interventions to DDP participants.
  • DDP is just one tool available for supporting rehabilitation and is frequently used as part of a package of interventions available to an individual.

How are individuals on the programme overseen?

  • Individuals on the programme are supervised through a multi-agency approach involving partners across Counter Terrorism Policing and His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service.
  • DDP runs alongside existing statutory risk assessment and management processes such as Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). [3]
  • DDP does not replace licence conditions/supervision measures – it supports them. Individuals on the probation, TPIM and TEO strands will be subject to additional licence conditions/supervision measures to support in managing their risk.

Do individuals have to take part in DDP?

  • Unlike the majority of programmes that make up part of the Prevent strategy, DDP is mandatory for some individuals. This includes those subject to TEO, TPIM or probation requirements.
  • Where DDP sessions are included as a condition of the TPIM or TEO, failure to attend could lead to prosecution for breach of conditions.
  • Individuals on probation risk breaching their license conditions and being recalled to prison for failure to engage with the programme.

How many participants has DDP engaged?

Financial Year Total
2016/17 <10
2017/18 64
2018/19 116
2019/20 126
2020/21 100
2021/22 146

Figures correct as at 23/12/2022.

The data in the above table includes all active DDP participants who had received at least one intervention session on the programme during the year.

Please note, previous DDP participant data may differ from the above due to the way the information was collated for that period, how duplicate cases were treated and how an ‘active’ participant was defined.


This factsheet was updated in February 2023.

[1] TPIMs are special civil measures imposed on individuals to limit the capability, and improve the monitoring of, individuals whose terrorist risk cannot be effectively managed by criminal prosecution.
TEOs are imposed on individuals who are reasonably suspected to have been involved in terrorism-related activity abroad.
[2] Some offences not included in the Terrorism Acts can also be classed as having a ‘terrorist connection’ to ensure the criminal charges properly reflect the conduct concerned. These include charges such as murder or causing an explosion.
[3] The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“CJA 2003”) provides for the establishment of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (“MAPPA”) in each of the 42 criminal justice areas in England and Wales. These are designed to protect the public, including previous victims of crime, from serious harm by sexual and violent offenders. They require the local criminal justice agencies and other bodies dealing with offenders to work together in partnership in dealing with these offenders.

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