A specialist unit set up by UK's security agency MI5 has been helping the intelligence service read the minds of terrorists and helped foil at least seven attacks in the past year, according to a report.
The Behavioural Science Unit (BSU) is based in Thames House, headquarters of the UK's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency MI5 on the north bank of the river Thames.
"It takes some doing to go from talking about carrying out a violent act like killing to actually doing it. We deal with probabilities and that is the nature of our work," said Neil, an Arabic and Norwegian speaker who has worked for the unit for six years.
"We provide an assessment of the subject of interest but the final decision lies with the [investigating] officer," Neil told The Sunday Times which claimed to have been granted "unprecedented access" last week, to some of the staff who worked at the unit.
He added the officer's team was passed intelligence that was gleaned by officers from a network of informants and the public.
"The BSU then looks for signs of unusual activity, such as an increasing sense of grievance, a desire to acquire skills and tactics. An attempt to identify material for their plans and logistical practice and trial runs," Neil said.
According to research by MI5, over 60 per cent of lone wolf attackers provided clues they were about to strike with their changing behaviour.
It was the job of the Behavioural Science Unit (BSU) to detect signs of changing activity that pointed to terror intent.
The experts searched for telltale signs such as ''increasing sense of grievance, a desire to acquire skills and tactics – an attempt to identify material for their plans and logistical practice and trial runs''.
According to Neil ''only two per cent'' of terrorists suffered from mental health problems compared with 30 per cent of members of the public.