Madriaza, P. & Ponsot, A.-2015
Two divergent themes have emerged from discussions surrounding the tragedy of last November 13 in Paris: first, the highly understandable “declaration of war” by President Hollande, who called for heightened controls, and second, comments from security experts who understand the limitations of repression measures and surveillance. We can only hope that a middle ground emerges, leading to the realization that prevention efforts are the only way to stop a movement that is proving so trying to the forces of law and order. No response, preventive or repressive, can claim the ability to neutralize the security risk. However, security is not possible without the combined effort of both. And yet, we have neglected prevention efforts in favour of repression measures, thus compromising the basic right to privacy and undermining the effectiveness of the public safety apparatus. However, the evidence shows that prevention minimizes risk, thereby complementing the efforts of law enforcement while easing their burden and enhancing effectiveness. Above all, prevention builds a safer community, something we can all appreciate. And solutions do exist. On October 21, 2015 at the City Hall in Paris, under the auspices of the Embassy of Canada and in the Ambassador’s presence, the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) presented the preliminary findings of the first part of its study on the prevention of radicalization. The packed and high-level audience attested to the level of concern. The timing of this event, with the tragedy of November 13 barely three weeks away, highlights the need to strengthen prevention efforts in order to offset the limitations of control measures. The main themes of the ICPC study shed light on this issue. ICPC senior analyst Pablo Madriaza and analyst Anne-Sophie Ponsot describe radicalization prevention as a combination of certain conventional security principles, like surveillance, with social policies concerning integration and cohesion. They state: [translation] “the social prevention of radicalization aims to limit the development of risk factors and strengthen factors that protect against such a process.” Their study identifies effective and strategic prevention projects, though few in number, operating in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East (including Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates). These projects share the same definition of radicalization, target the same individuals and have the same response structure. The targeted individuals are usually isolated youth in search of an identity, “politically frustrated” with a “cognitive openness” to radical discourse following a triggering event in their political, social or personal environment. They consequently become more susceptible to “radicalization
entrepreneurs,” influential, radicalized individuals in search of followers. The prevention structure centres on concentric units: the individual, to strengthen his or her resistance to radical discourse; the individual’s relational environment, to counteract the sources of radicalization; the individual’s community, to identify negative influences; and the societal
environment, to foster harmonious integration.