The fight against terrorism is spearheaded by cooperation between authorities

There is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism. Terrorism generally involves the use or threat of violence in order to achieve certain goals and cause unrest or fear. As a phenomenon, terrorism is defined as action which involves the violation of national or international law, or violence or the threat of violence, with the aim of causing unrest and fear.

With respect to counter-terrorism, Finland’s operating environment is changing rapidly and the threat posed by terrorism has become more varied. For instance, the number of persons with connections to terrorism has increased. Due to the rapidly changing situation, the Finnish National Security Service raised the national terrorist threat level in June 2014 and again in November 2015. The greatest threat is posed by radical Islamist terrorism, particularly radicalised individuals or small groups. The risk posed by independent terrorist attacks has grown, while the threat of structured terrorist attacks led from abroad remains low.

Intelligence in a key role

The aim of counter-terrorism is to identify and counter threats to Finland before they are realised. The Government has laid down guidelines and called for the further development of counter-terrorism. In addition, the European Union Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the related Action Plan set out ways of strengthening international cooperation and list the measures required to combat terrorism.

In counter-terrorism activities, intelligence work and cooperation play significant roles at both national and international level. In Finland, the main responsibility for the monitoring and analysis of terrorism-related phenomena lies with the Finnish Security Intelligence Service.

The Ministry of the Interior has begun a project with the aim of enacting civilian intelligence legislation. For example, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service will be granted additional powers for combating terrorism. The preparations for the project are being closely coordinated with the legislative projects of the Ministry of Defence on military intelligence and of the Ministry of Justice on the possible revision of the Constitution of Finland.

The National Bureau of Investigation is responsible for the criminal investigation of terrorism offences

The Police Act, the Criminal Investigation Act and the Coercive Measures Act all govern the detection and investigation of terrorist offences. In Finland, responsibility for the criminal investigation of terrorist offences rests with the National Bureau of Investigation. If necessary, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service assists the Bureau with investigations. The Security Intelligence Service may also investigate terrorism-related offences on special grounds of state security. Other authorities may also participate in criminal investigations, providing assistance to the police unit conducting the investigation in question.