This event will bring together anti-terrorism police experts with the aim of exchanging and promoting good practices among police agencies in the fight against terrorism. There will be a special focus on the Mediterranean and South Eastern Europe.
Today, terrorism is a widespread concern challenging the modern world. In fact, no nation in the contemporary world can be considered safe from terrorism.
As a conflict method it has survived and evolved through several millennia to flourish in the modern information age. Terrorism continues to adapt to meet the challenges of emerging forms of conflict, and exploit developments in technology and society.
It has demonstrated increasing abilities to adapt to counter-terrorism measures and political failure. Terrorists are developing new capabilities of attack and improving the efficiency of existing methods. Additionally, terrorist groups/organizations are becoming more integrated with other sub-state entities, such as criminal organizations and legitimately chartered corporations, and are gradually assuming a measure of control and identity with national governments.
Especially in some regions close to the Mediterranean basin, in the 1990s, wars, political instability, weak law enforcement institutions and poverty provided a breeding ground and an opportunity for terrorist groups to infiltrate the region.
International organizations, bilateral and multilateral donor countries have been assisting the countries to stabilize the region, assuming that those efforts perhaps will reduce its attractiveness to terrorists groups. It must be noted that despite the difficulties a reasonable progress in setting up necessary institutions and criminal justice system has been made and good examples of some capacity building projects to defeat the crime and terrorism are becoming more visible on the ground.
Moreover, one may agree that the region’s continuing pressing problems, such as corruption, poverty, and potential political instability leave the region vulnerable to terrorist groups in the future. It is also known that there have also been intensified efforts to recruit young people from the region into terrorist groups by providing money and other means.
Additionally, the region due to its geographic position may still continue to play a role in terrorist plans & activities, mainly as a transit point for terrorists, as well as for rest, training and recuperation. In this respect, it is seen advisable to reinforce the mechanisms of police cooperation in this region to prevent terrorist activities, to dismantle terrorist structures and to disrupt its financing procedures.
International terrorism has been on the agenda of the OSCE and, inter alia, has been underscored by the OSCE’s Bucharest Ministerial Council (MC) Decision as growing challenge to security. MC Decision affirmed that effective policing is essential to uphold the rule of law and to defend democratic institutions. Moreover, it has highlighted the importance of co-operation between and among participating Sates (pS) in police-related matters to meet this new risk and challenge.
One of the most important and also principal components in counter terrorism is the law enforcement response to it. Law enforcement - together with other elements of criminal justice system - have been playing and will play a vital role.
The police is the institution that is responsible for taking proactive measures in prevention matters, investigation and dismantling of terrorist groups. In addition, “patrol” officers usually are the ones to be the first responders to terrorist actions and their initial responses (evacuation, rescue and control of the scene) might lead to additional lives being saved.
In both respects – prevention and investigation – there are two main complementary tools that police might use: intelligence-led policing and community policing. In the first case when there is a system defined in the police to gather information and it is adequately reported, analyzed and disseminated, it could help to unveil terrorist activities. In the second, the co-operation with the citizen, NGOs can offer a substantial contribution, not only as a sharing information tool, but also very helpful in identifying evolutions and trends within communities.
In order to address the terrorism phenomena particularly focusing on the role of the police in the prevention and investigation of terrorist activities, the SPMU has been looking for possible actions to improve the co-operation between the countries in the Balkans region and Europe in general, as well as increase the level of understanding and networking of police practitioners who have to fight against terrorism.
In that respect this workspop will provide forum to discuss best police practices in the pro-active prevention of terrorist activities.
The seminar/workshop would have a twofold focus: