Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 October 2021
Developments in threat assessment, particularly in the area of concerning communications and approaches to public figures, has led to the setting-up in a number of countries of a new style of service for assessing and managing risk to the prominent from the actions of lone individuals. Known as fixated threat assessment centres (FTACs), their central characteristic is that they are jointly staffed by police officers and by psychiatric staff from health services. They are based on the realization that the interests of the prominent in terms of protection overlap with those of the people harassing them in terms of medical care. Research over the last decade has re-established that the majority of those threatening, harassing, or attacking public figures have unmet mental health needs, and that attention to these is often the most effective way of reducing risk, whilst at the same time improving their lot and focusing on treatment, rather than criminalization. The approach has recently been expanded to encompass assessment and intervention in individuals suspected of being radicalised into extreme ideologies and at risk of proceeding to commit terrorist acts.