As RAN Practitioners enters into a new year, Europe continues to straddle the ongoing battle between keeping societies and communities as open as possible, against the continual threat and disruption posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. For P/CVE practitioners, their work in engaging vulnerable individuals both online and in communities remains ever difficult.
In this environment, RAN practitioners must continue to be aware of evolving and emerging P/CVE threats. In 2021, Europe found itself facing a surge in conspiracy narratives and disinformation, the Taliban’s return in Afghanistan and the growing threat of both violent left and right wing extremism. In amongst these threats,
Lone Actor incidents have also regained media attention, with attacks in Kongsberg, Norway and Leigh-On-Sea, the United Kingdom, two prominent examples that have highlighted the ongoing need to understand and address the Lone Actor threat. Whilst not a new phenomenon, what these incidents have shown is the ability of individuals, who are not affiliated to any group and operating alone, to evade security structures.
However, whilst these individuals were definitively ‘lone’ in carrying out the attack, it can be argued that they were part of a process that was anything but isolated. Indeed, their radicalisation had taken place in an online ecosystem, that whilst is not an organised cell with command and control points or individuals, is actually far more organised than many think.
With this in mind, RAN practitioners must be more cognisant than ever of the characteristics that define the online environments in which Lone Actors operate in. To this end, the collection of articles and content in this month’s Spotlight aims to provide a basis for this understanding, with a strong focus on how practitioners are able to navigate a highly challenging space for intervention work.
As always, we want to hear from you! If you would like to contribute to future editions of Spotlight, or if you have ideas for an article, interview or feature, please get in touch with the RAN Practitioners communications team