Prevent, avert, protect and manage: new national strategy against violent extremism and terrorism
The Government has adopted a new comprehensive national strategy against violent extremism and terrorism. The Government is also tasking the Swedish Security Service, the Swedish Police, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the Swedish Centre for Preventing Violent Extremism (under the auspices of the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention) with taking measures to incorporate the strategy into their activities.
“A lot has happened since the previous strategy was presented – in Sweden and internationally. There has been attacks: in Stockholm in 2017, Visby in 2022 and Brussels in 2023. A new comprehensive national strategy against violent extremism and terrorism that can respond to the increased threat scenario is therefore needed,” says Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
“The only way we can prevail over those who seek to weaken our democratic foundation and undermine trust in society and its institutions is by working together. In this way, we can safeguard individuals’ safety and security,” says Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer.
Since the previous strategy was developed, the threat of violent extremism and terrorism has become increasingly complex and difficult to combat. There is now a broader constitutional threat against Sweden that aims to undermine trust in society and its institutions.
The Government has therefore adopted a new comprehensive national strategy. Municipalities, government agencies, researchers and civil society organisations have been involved in this effort partly through broader meetings and partly by giving central government agencies the opportunity to provide input during the process.
The strategy can be divided into four strategic areas: preventing violent extremism and terrorism, averting terrorist attacks and other ideologically motivated crimes, protecting people and functions, and managing the situation during and after an attack.
In addition, the strategy has several important new features:
1. A comprehensive strategy against violent extremism and terrorism. Previously, there were two different national strategies: one against terrorism and one against violent extremism. By merging these into one, the actors at national, regional and local level will better be able to combat the broad threat scenario that is our current reality.
2. Measures dedicated to preventing extremism and terrorism will be integrated in broader crime prevention efforts. Comprehensive local crime prevention work is currently being carried out, especially in municipalities that have had a statutory responsibility to do so since mid-2023. The objective of the new strategy is for preventive measures against violent extremism and terrorism to be integrated into broader local crime prevention efforts.
3. Society must prepare to manage an attack. Although various measures aim to prevent attacks, society must be prepared to manage a situation in which an attack nevertheless occurs. This involves being able to intervene and stop an ongoing attack, but also providing victims of crime with the right support and the possibility of redress.
For the strategy to have an effect in practice, the Government is tasking the Swedish Security Service, the Swedish Police, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the Swedish Centre for Preventing Violent Extremism with taking measures to incorporate the strategy into their activities. These agencies will also collaborate with each other and other key actors in the four areas indicated in the strategy, including within the framework of the Counterterrorism Cooperative Council, coordinated by the Swedish Security Service. Although the four agencies have different tasks and areas of responsibility, the areas of the strategy need to be managed as a whole to enable the work to be successful. This particularly applies as regards the agencies’ support to municipalities for measures within the various areas of the strategy.
The agencies must each submit an interim report of the task to the Government Offices by 20 February 2025, containing a description of how each of them is carrying out its efforts to incorporate the strategy. The final report must be delivered by 1 September 2026.