Friday, February 13, 2009

Terror: Change in mindset

The nature of the threat we are facing these days dictates a change in mindset. People expect law enforcement and security to know how to mitigate the terrorist threat facing us. Yet, enforcing the law is very different from preventing terrorist attacks. Law enforcement focuses on the ability to catch criminals, and prosecuting them requires finding evidence that will prove their intent. The mitigation of terrorism, however, involves the detection of aggressive intentions whether or not a crime has (yet) occurred. To further complicate the matter, security personnel and law enforcement officers are often faced with issues of liability and marketability that prevent them from meeting their threat mitigation goals. In other words, security-related actions are influenced by the potential for legal ramifications or negative public opinion and not necessarily by the threats posed to the protected environment. These restraints on the security goal are a fact of life. The following outlines the cultural change in mindset needed in order to better respond to the new reality of the terrorist threat. This cultural change needs to be reflected in the terminologies, protocols, policies and procedures used by law enforcement and security organizations.
Refrain from racial/ communal profiling. It is politically, legally and operationally wrong. Assuming that a given ethnic group/community has a higher potential for threat will result in ignorance of other ethnic groups that may very well be involved in the execution of a terrorist attack. What characterizes a terrorist is their choice of method and not their ethnic background. Engage suspicious activity using a customer service approach. The deterrence value of security and law enforcement is not in response to an authoritative voice or aggressiveness but to a carefully thought-through and targeted question as simple as: “how can I help you?” or “where are you heading?” These questions are regarded as service oriented to the law-abiding citizen but will be deterring to the terrorist, now confronting a situation where his false identity and terrorist intentions could be exposed. Attempting to refute suspicion instead of building a case. Often we are driven to jump to conclusions based on an observed suspicious activity. We assume threats or guilt even before engaging with the observed suspicion. Suspicion is a common occurrence that needs to be mitigated through refutation i.e. trying to prove the suspicion wrong and not validating it with an assumption of guilt.
(thanks to Chamelion)

1 comment:

Harsha said...

Sir , I am a great fan of you.Its really a good thing that you have taken blogging as a major route to convey your messages and I personally think that this is the only media left untouched by our biased news groups.

I have one small question.Couple of years back there was some controversy in Cauvery Layout because of aggression by Christian people.And there are many hindus still fighting for the justice.

Can you please brief us on this.

Thanks & Regards,