Nordic Multiagency Approaches to Handling Extremism: Policies, Perceptions and Practices

In the Nordic countries, prevention of radicalization and violent extremism is based on an existing crime prevention collaboration within the SSP framework (school, social and health services, and police). The core tenant of this approach is that early radicalization prevention is best organized as a joint effort, where individual cases are assessed in a holistic manner and relevant information shared. However, despite similarities in the multiagency setup, important national and local difference exists in terms of the legal leeway for exchanging personal information and the practical implementation of preventive measures.

In this project, we investigate how this variation in multiagency approaches to preventing radicalization and countering violent extremism shape perceptions of legitimacy and levels of mutual trust - among involved stakeholders as well as among public authorities and citizens - in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Furthermore, we investigate to what degree variation in perceived legitimacy, trust and justice is linked to variation in the effectiveness of multiagency collaboration and prevention of radicalization.

The project provides a first comprehensive comparison of legal frameworks, institutional setups, perceptions and practices of the Nordic multiagency approaches to countering violent extremism. It gives a critical analysis of varying implementations, which systematically explore how core components of a Nordic governance model contributes to, and may be preconditions for, effective multiagency collaboration and secure societies. In doing so, the project will provide a more informed platform for spreading Nordic experiences and models of governance to other countries in the area of radicalization prevention and countering violent extremism.

The project is carried out by researchers at University of Oslo, Gothenburg University, Aarhus University, Norwegian Police University College, and University of Eastern Finland. The empirical research of the project is organized in three closely linked work packages, which engage and combine various methods of data collection (surveys, survey experiments, individual interviews, focus groups and participant observation). Data will be collected among the core professional groups of the Nordic multiagency approach to radicalization prevention - school teachers, social workers and police officers - but also among the general public and the policy target groups (vulnerable youth/communities).