For a local prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism – Resolution of Efus’ Executive Committee, November 2016

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The members of Efus’ executive committee, assembled in Rotterdam (Netherlands) on Tuesday 8 November 2016, adopted a resolution calling for a local prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism.

For a local prevention of radicalisation leading
to violent extremism
Resolution of Efus’ Executive Committee

Rotterdam, 8 November 2016

The elected representatives comprising the Executive Committee of the European Forum for Urban Security, concerned about the fact that radicalisation and extremism leading to violence are increasingly pervasive societal issues, highlight the urgent need to act against a phenomenon whose underlying causes must ultimately be addressed and which profoundly threatens the cohesion and security of our communities

Based on the work undertaken by Efus since 2013, mainly within the LIAISE project, which aimed to strengthen local authorities’ capacities against this phenomenon, and taking into consideration that policy agendas throughout Europe have primarily been characterised by the introduction of hard and repressive counter-radicalisation measures, the Executive Committee believes:

  • A strong preventive approach is indispensable, complementing repressive responses lead within policing and justice policies. Local bodies are strategically placed to implement preventive actions and to mobilise all relevant stakeholders to act against radicalisation, mainly because of their proximity to citizens and their existing policy competencies on different fields of crime prevention.
  • Policies aiming at fighting against radicalisation must be based on an approach that guarantees individual liberties in order to avoid stigmatisation, the latter being a breeding ground for extremism.
  • It is essential to tackle all forms of violent radicalisation. The different shapes this phenomenon can take are, regardless of their political or ideological motivations, equally dangerous for society’s security and social cohesion, and can mutually reinforce each other.

Based on the above, the Executive Committee recommends local and regional authorities:

  • Integrate the fight against radicalisation into a local and integrated security policy. Since some of the risk factors of radicalisation are similar to those leading to crime, the prevention of violent radicalisation must be part of a global prevention strategy.
  • Conceive and implement their local prevention strategies through a balanced multi¬agency and evidence-based approach, which includes audit and impact assessment as key phases in order to ensure their update and improvement.
  • Act against radicalisation through all three levels of prevention: namely, primary, secondary and tertiary. Depending on local authorities’ policy competencies with regard to the latter, their involvement in the prevention of this phenomenon should ideally aim at addressing all stages of the phenomenon.
  • Give political support to preventive initiatives in order to give them visibility and legitimacy.
  • Assert that political reactions, especially after violent extremist acts, should be based on analysis and evidence.
  • Train practitioners according to their needs and competences.
  • Promote the mobilisation of civil society, recognising their key role when it is come to build resilience and identify credible voices in order to spread alternative narratives.

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This resolution is based upon: