- Publication date
- 4 September 2023
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
- RAN Publications Topic
- Judiciary and law enforcement
The article ‘What the Zeitgeist can Tell us About the Future of Terrorism’ by Rik Coolsaet and Thomas Renard (2022) highlights the importance of considering terrorism within its social, economic and political contexts. The authors argue that these contexts shape how individuals perceive the world, making it crucial to understand the broader zeitgeist or spirit of the times. By examining major social changes and developments, we can gain insight into the emergence and decline of terrorist trends.
This understanding helps us grasp the underlying dissatisfaction and grievances that contribute to radicalisation and extremism. In this context, the RAN POL Working Group has convened a meeting on 25 and 26 May 2023, in Zagreb, Croatia. Police experts from various Member States came together to assess and explore scenarios for the year 2028 and discuss what capacities the police need to effectively address extremism in different scenarios.
By utilising the Shell scenario planning model, participants developed four different scenarios for extremism in 2028. The scenarios were used to discuss recommendations for those eventualities:
- There will be a need for specialised units and experts, with appropriate training capacities and resources to be able to respond to the rapidly changing extremist landscapes, and to handle complex and high-risk situations.
- Misinformation and alternative media will make it difficult for police to differentiate between real and fake news, particularly in an era of extensive misinformation, AI and conspiracy narratives.
- As polarisation, radicalisation, crime and hate speech will occur online, there will be a need for digital tools and skills to stay up to date with new technologies and be effective in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE).
- Community-oriented policing will remain a crucial element in the work of police. Thus, this concept needs to be fully integrated into police strategies and explicitly emphasised.