Local Police Response to Terrorism


Timely response to possible terrorist threats and prevention of extremist attacks are a direct responsibility of law enforcement agencies. The purpose of this work is to determine how the police respond to this danger. This paper describes possible measures taken by law enforcement agencies to protect civilians from the threat of terrorist attacks and considers the primary ways to prevent human victims.

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The proper allocation of available resources is a successful measure of interaction between law enforcement agencies and authorities. The mobilization of all possible forces, including civilians, to eliminate the threat of attacks is effective work for minimizing casualties. The identification of danger through continuous monitoring and search for weapons supply channels is carried out by the police, and the search for places of storage of terrorist resources is conducted. As a rationale, academic sources are used to support all the arguments presented.


The complication of the international situation and the growth of extremist threats require the adoption of additional measures aimed at maintaining stability in the society and countering any manifestations of terrorist threats. The struggle against this phenomenon has been proclaimed by the UN as one of the priority tasks of its activity. One of the primary directions of efforts to counteract it is the creation of an international and national legal framework for combating terrorism. Also, the formation of powerful anti-terrorist centers and the involvement of armed forces to combat extremism are carried out.

Socio-economic situations in countries and regions where armed conflicts occur deserve particular attention since this criterion is often critical when assessing the level of the terrorist threat. Interdepartmental and interstate coordination in this area presuppose the close interaction of boards that are responsible for maintaining the safety of civilians and preventing any attempts to break the peace. At the state level, the task of timely identifying potentially dangerous people and detecting the location of extremists is entrusted to the police. The quality of the work of law enforcement agencies and their interaction with other structures make it possible to achieve security and stabilize the situation in a particular region.

Allocation of Resources by Police Departments for Combating Terrorism

When taking into account the general spectrum of the police’s responsibilities about the identification of criminal and aggressive groups, it is voluminous. Law forces should identify and prevent crimes against the security of the state, counter foreign intelligence services, and watch out for terrorist extremist organizations to collect information. According to Dupont (2015), to increase the transparency of the activities of various security agencies, to ensure a more rational allocation of resources among counter-terrorism projects, and to eliminate duplication and overlap, special forms of protection are used.

Measures aimed at preventing an extremist threat from different sides make it possible to formulate an idea of ​​the directions and scope of work in the fight against terrorism and the balanced provision of assistance to the population.

The structural subdivisions of the police are involved in the liquidation and prevention of the threat of mass attacks. To provide comprehensive protection, law enforcement units distribute tasks for their actions to be more effective (Dupont, 2015).

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For instance, some groups are engaged in monitoring the territory entrusted to them and controlling any suspicious persons and actions. Other offices search for places where extremists are deployed, discovering weapons storage sites and identifying channels for supplying resources to terrorists. To succeed in identifying and eliminating the danger, it is essential to provide comprehensive protection and control of all possible threats.

The Involvement of Authorities in the Allocation of Resources

The competent implementation of the fight against terrorist threats implies the participation of government agencies involved in the financing of the police and the supply of all necessary resources. According to Tankebe, Reisig, and Wang (2016), modern technologies that are used to monitor the movements of extremists make it possible to identify a potential threat timely and to eliminate it. The authorities responsible for the supply of specialized equipment should take into account the training of law enforcement officials and, if necessary, provide preparation for specialists in the management of certain equipment.

High-precision modern surveillance devices can be a successful counter-terrorism mechanism if they are used by operational requirements. The more trained police officers are, the greater the chance will be that the technique will be applied competently and successfully. Moreover, the authorities are responsible for the procurement and allocation of appropriate resources among law enforcement agencies. If the funding system assumes a constant supply of protective equipment, the population will receive enhanced protection from the danger caused by the attack of extremists. Therefore, the state’s participation in the allocation of resources is important.

Mobilization and Rapid Response to the Emerging Threat

Counter-terrorism measures taken by security forces require a rapid response to any emerging danger. According to Nance (2013), law enforcement agencies should always be ready to not only repel extremists but also to minimize the number of casualties on the part of the civilian population. In case of attacks, there is little time left to think through a plan of action and to protect the population. Therefore, special ways of training are constantly introduced so that the police could hone their behavioral skills in the conditions of danger and quickly respond to the threat of a terrorist act. Special services practice assaults, and speed is one of the decisive and crucial factors.

If the act of terrorism is committed, as a rule, all local police stations are mobilized to help victims and protect people. As Haynes and Giblin (2014) note, it is never known how many attacks will be committed, therefore, to avoid a large number of casualties, the police urgently evacuate civilians from the zone of potential danger. Law enforcement officials regularly receive training aimed at identifying threats in case of a terrorist attack and preparing for any possible situation.

The authorities are concerned that the danger should be eliminated as soon as possible since a large number of human victims and destructions automatically causes people to question the competence of the government and the ability of the police to provide protection. To avoid mass discontent and prevent significant losses, it is essential to mobilize all possible forces urgently and act according to the working instruction where the entire plan is displayed.

Population Involvement

In addition to police officers, voluntary squads of citizens can also provide assistance and support to the victims of attacks. Under the conditions of a terrorist act, any help is necessary. In this regard, law enforcement agencies often conduct briefings among the population and talk about the techniques of actions in case of danger. According to Nance (2013), educating people about the threats of extremist attacks may help to avoid a large number of victims since people will be aware of correct behavior if extremists start to attack. Moreover, the entire procedure of rescuing victims will be more rapid if many forces are accumulated in a dangerous area.

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All civilians are trained hard enough to receive access to work next to the police. Nevertheless, law enforcement agencies are interested in having additional support and always count on the help of citizens. Such interaction can be useful both for the civilian population and the police.

Identifying the Threats of Terrorist Attacks

To avoid a large number of casualties and damage, it is important to keep investigative work aimed at the detection and elimination of terrorists. Different techniques may be used, for example, the surveillance of potentially dangerous individuals, identifying ways of arms and ammunition supply, providing crowded places with additional protection, and other essential activities (Nance, 2013). These measures reduce the risk of threats and ensure possible safety. All the functions mentioned are usually performed by police officers along with other security agencies, and the techniques of preventive work may be different.

Surveillance as the Measure of Protection

The technique of surveillance implies constant control over the situation on a certain territory. The police regularly patrol a particular area and make sure that no suspicious persons show any aggressive intentions. Enhanced tracking is carried out during mass events when a large number of people gather in the same place (Brinser & King, 2016). In this case, the police patrols guard the entire perimeter of the territory and not only monitor the observance of order but also control the behavior of the crowd. According to Nance (2013), the method of surveillance is also practiced among terrorists. People may notice some danger and report it. However, it is the task of the police to recognize those people who show excessive attention to details, behave strangely, and arouse suspicion.

Identifying the Ways of Supplying Arms and Ammunition

Another task of the police, which is included in the program of prevention from terrorist attacks, is the identification of supply chains for military equipment. Storage facilities for weapons may be located in different places, and, as Nance (2013) remarks, it is necessary to monitor and check all suspicious areas and find extremists’ bases and their resources timely. It is worth noting that the purchase of weapons can be legal.

The sale of military equipment today is permitted by law. However, it is difficult to track for what purposes this product is used and how it is resold. Police officers need to check the owners of registered weapons and simultaneously identify any facts of their illegal storage. According to Nance (2013), the timely identification of the organizers of armament supply chains can help to minimize the threat of terrorist acts. Therefore, it is important to not only search for storage sites but also to work on identifying buyers and sellers of weapons.

Psychological Training for Counteraction to Terrorists

It is the responsibility of the police to not only counteract real attacks but also to distinguish the psychological profile of persons who are capable of committing terrorist acts or those who can be used by extremist group leaders. The timely study of this contingent allows taking preventive measures to stop terrorist attacks. According to Ronczkowski (2017), one of the main motives for resorting to extremism is a strong need for strengthening personal identity, which is achieved by belonging to the group. Also, these are the motives for self-affirmation and giving such activity a special heroic significance.

Experienced law enforcement officers should distinguish the psycho types of those who can harm civilians. Nevertheless, as Ronczkowski (2017) argues, despite the presence of some similar psychological characteristics, there is no reason to speak of the existence of a comprehensive portrait of a terrorist. Therefore, the task of the police is to control the situation and monitor any suspicious manifestations of human behavior.

To be prepared comprehensively for any situation, law enforcement officers periodically take special courses and psychological training where specialists talk about the peculiarities of the deviant behavior of extremists. The use of this knowledge is valuable since having access to information about the psycho types of terrorists and the basic features that distinguish them from ordinary people, it is possible to prevent threats effectively. Furthermore, police officers subsequently have an opportunity to share the information they receive with trustees, thereby disseminating valuable data and enlightening the public about the prerequisites of danger.

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Accordingly, to resist extremists and identify potential threats successfully, it is necessary to be prepared not only physically but also psychologically. Police officers should be ready to understand that ensuring the safety of citizens is their immediate duty, and in case of terrorist attacks, responsibility will lie on them as well. This information can cause discomfort and anxiety. Nevertheless, the police are a state structure where strong character and endurance are required, otherwise, performance will be of poor quality.

If officers are morally not ready to protect the population, it means that ideological work has been done incorrectly, and the responsibility lies not only on the staff but also on senior management (Ronczkowski, 2017). The ability to motivate brave deeds for the sake of saving lives is the task that the leaders of the power structures face. Therefore, relevant courses and training are periodically held, and officers have an opportunity to talk to psychologists and receive useful knowledge concerning the specifics of preventing terrorist threats.

Preventive Measures of Counteraction to Terrorism

First of all, to promote the formation of tolerant consciousness and to prevent the spread of extremism and violence, it is necessary to form people’s respect for the diversity of different world cultures, civilizations, and peoples. Also, it is essential to ensure readiness to understand and cooperate with people that differ in appearance, language, and the diversity of ideas in society. As a rule, it is the task of the media, as well as educational work in the family and schools and colleges.

Nevertheless, law enforcement boards can also be involved in the practice of information dissemination and conversations with the public about the prevention of aggressive behavior towards other people. Moreover, as Dupont (2015) notes, it is impossible to form a law-abiding society unless the model of interaction is clearly defined. The task of police officers is to inform citizens that terrorism as a phenomenon has no right to exist in modern times, and no arguments in its favor can be justified.

In work on the prevention of extremism among the youth, active participation is made by law enforcement officers. As part of the activities aimed at the avoidance of unlawful acts, police officers organize and conduct explanatory work in educational institutions. To ensure an integrated approach to the organization of activities in this area, officers hold working meetings with the heads of establishments where a mechanism for interaction is discussed to identify those who support extremist views (Haynes & Giblin, 2014). Activities aimed at fostering tolerance among students are included in joint plans of many territorial bodies of internal affairs. Police officers regularly conduct conversations and speeches on legal topics in schools, working with both children and their parents.

Thus, not only the police themselves but also ordinary citizens contribute to eradicating terrorism and counteracting any form of aggression against one another. Timely activities aimed at educating the public can help to understand the problem and threat posed by extremist organizations. If people do not neglect basic security measures and follow the advice of responsible boards, the risk of danger will decrease, and it will be easier for the police to fight terrorism.


The quality of the work carried out by the police to prevent terrorist acts determines the safety of the population. Law enforcement agencies can interact with citizens in the fight against extremists. The modern methods of searching for aggressively-minded groups significantly reduce the risk of danger. Psychological training of officers is as important as physical. Different representatives of the police undergo special courses and training and help people to secure their lives and fight terrorism. Joint work is the key to the success and safety of the population.


Brinser, K. L., & King, W. R. (2016). Organizational permeability to environmental conditions: Local police agency assessments of threats posed by disasters, accidents, and terrorism. Police Quarterly, 19(4), 387-409. Web.

Dupont, B. (2015). Security networks and counter-terrorism. In M. Bouchard (Ed.), Social networks, terrorism, and counter-terrorism: Radical and connected (pp. 155-174). New York, NY: Routledge.

Haynes, M. R., & Giblin, M. J. (2014). Homeland security risk and preparedness in police agencies: The insignificance of actual risk factors. Police Quarterly, 17(1), 30-53. Web.

Nance, M. W. (2013). Terrorist recognition handbook: A practitioner’s manual for predicting and identifying terrorist activities (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Ronczkowski, M. R. (2017). Terrorism and organized hate crime: Intelligence gathering, analysis and investigations. Boca Raton, FL: CRC press.

Tankebe, J., Reisig, M. D., & Wang, X. (2016). A multidimensional model of police legitimacy: A cross-cultural assessment. Law and Human Behavior, 40(1), 11-22. Web.

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