The Aarhus anti-radicalisation effort

Work in this area began as a pilot project in 2007. The aim of the project was to prevent the radicalisation - political as well as religious - of young people thereby promoting safety and well-being.
On the 1st of January 2011, the project, its operations and leadership were passed over to SSP Aarhus. (SSP is an alliance between Social Services, Schools and The Police).

The work to prevent radicalisation and discrimination is collaboration between East Jutland Police and Aarhus Municipality and is undertaken as a supplement to the existing crime prevention efforts for young people up to 18 years. In this instance, efforts have been targeted at young people up to 25 years. The anti-radicalisation effort works with understanding and knowing how to handle the concepts of radicalisation, extremism, terrorism and discrimination.

How do we work with radicalisation in Aarhus Municipality?

Preventing radicalisation is seen as a specialised branch of general crime prevention in Aarhus Municipality. The existing crime prevention cooperation between the City of Aarhus and East Jutland Police therefore forms the basis for action, and the same rules for the exchange of information applies. The specialisation consists of handling and navigating the area between a citizen’s constitutional right to legitimate political and religious activism and the risk of violation of Penal Code § 114 ("Terror Paragraph").

Inquiries that are received by staff at SSP are sent to Info House, which is the starting point for all exit programmes. Info House is a collaboration between East Jutland Police, which has assigned two part-time police assistants, and a team from SSP Aarhus. At Info House they handle inquiries from citizens or public officials who have noticed troubling behaviour of a citizen, for example, signs of extremism and radicalization.

The strategy is to regard radicalisation in the same way as any other crime prevention work that requires general, group related and specific actions. The specialised work in Aarhus consists of the following areas:

  • Design and execution of a coordinated prevention of radicalisation. 
  • Guidance and counselling on radicalisation. 
  • Covering the subject of radicalisation in groups or with individuals. 
  • Handling of individual cases of radicalisation of young people at risk.
There has been a continuous and open dialogue on the areas of cooperation that exist between the different associations tied to at-risk communities and Aarhus municipality/police. This open dialogue promotes integration and prevents radicalisation. This dialogue also includes a discussion point concerning Syria volunteers.