Prevention work concerning violent radicalization has been assessed
The Ministry of the Interior coordinates the work preventing violent radicalization and extremism nationally. The work is based on the national action plan, which was verified in spring 2016. The assessment on the implementation of the plan and its objectives and actions is now ready. The assessment was completed by KPMG on the assignment of the Ministry of the Interior.
“Almost all EU countries have drafted a preventive action plan, but those have only rarely been assessed. Assessment from outside is very important because the work involves many actors, public authorities and representatives of different organisations. The assessment gives a good basis for the planning of future activities,” says Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development.
The first national action plan for the prevention of violent and extremism was published in 2012. The action plan was renewed in 2016 to take into account the changes in the operating environment. This year, the plan will be updated again, and the new plan will be published in summer 2019.
In the action plan and in the assessment of it, violent extremism means that violence is used, threatened, encouraged or by it an ideology is justified. The actions of the plan are directed at early prevention of persons who are at risk of becoming radicalized and persons already radicalized. The assessment was executed by exploring the background material given by various actors and interviewing the key actors.
Involvement of organisations went well, funding to be secured
Multi-professional cooperation and the involvement of organisations in the preventive work have succeeded. Organisations have possibilities to work where the public authorities’ abilities end or the trust on public authorities is not strong. Preconditions for cooperation have been created by bringing actors to the same table in national and local cooperation forums, which has helped in creating a common situational picture and networking actors.
Organisations do work where stability is of the essence. The funding of organisations in the preventive work is, however, based on project funding, which does not guarantee continuance. One example of this is the RADINET exit function, which no longer received funding from STEA (Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations).A risk is that the work is lost and building long-term trust is a challenge. The funding of organisations should be arranged so that the continuance of the operation can be secured, and the know-how gained during the projects can be utilised.
Challenge when a customer goes from one actor to another
According to the actors, the biggest risk in the preventive work is situations where a customer goes from one actor’s services to another’s. This can cause a disconnect, and the customer becomes lost from the sight of the public authorities. The cooperation is strongly linked to personal chemistry and due to that the exchange of persons may significantly weaken the cooperation between the actors. The exchange of information between the actors also forms an issue. Especially different interpretations of the law cause a problem, which results in difficulties creating common operating models.
The drafters of the assessment recommend that the interfaces between the actors should be made clearer and the roles between the actors should be described broadly in the new action plan. The cooperation between the actors should be improved by actions exceeding the actors’ boundaries where the operation is improved over the actors’ boundaries.
A wider approach is important
In Finland, the target of violent extremism is all forms of extremism. Among the actors, it is, thus, deemed important that extremist violence is not only seen as a phenomenon related to religion because the violent action justified by the extreme right or left is also violent extremism.
A wider approach has an important message. Violence or threats of it is not acceptable regardless of what the justification might be. This has a large schematic significance and it is also important for the work in practice.
More specific goals and priorities for education
No clear goals or priorities have been set on the education of the operators in the field. Also, there is a contradiction concerning the goal of education, especially in respect of which role the identification of radicalization should be. The actors’ resources available for education do not correspond with the need of education found by the provider of education or by a participant. Furthermore, the training material meant for self-study is poorly available.
The training of the operators in the field should have clearer goals and priorities so that the lacking resources would be targeted correctly. The planned web-based training and self-study packages could help in the situation.
Implementation of actions has been assessed
Altogether, 36 actions were agreed on in the plan and the assessment also contains an assessment of the implementation of the actions
Tarja Mankkinen, Head of Development, tel. +358 40 595 5760, [email protected]