On 17 June 2020 the meeting of VDD’s Counterterrorism Centre expert advisory council was held, in which counterterrorism experts and representatives from various fields had discussions about the most topical issues connected with the terrorism threat tendencies in Europe and in Latvia. Discussions were also held about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the security situation in Europe as well as about the readiness of the national counterterrorism system to prevent and overcome terrorism threat.
The meeting was mainly devoted to the discussions about the conclusions made during the declared state of emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The representatives of the institutions shared their experience about the main challenges they had to face. Also possible solutions were analyzed and examples of the best practice were mentioned, which could be used also further in various national level crisis management mechanisms, also when the crisis is connected with terrorism or increased terrorism threats.
During the meeting VDD counterterrorism experts introduced representatives of other institutions with what has been achieved in the counterterrorism field in 2020. As in the end of 2019 the Cabinet of Ministers approved the revised National Counterterrorism Plan, the first half of the 2020 was devoted to the coordination and review of the subplans of the involved institutions. Also the work towards the terrorism risk objects (critical infrastructure and mass gathering sites) continued, involving the evaluation of physical security measures and giving of recommendations.
VDD experts informed the participants about what has been accomplished by the inter-institutional working group "Prevent". The aim of the inter-institutional working group, which is led and established by VDD, is to coordinate the radicalization prevention activities on a national level. The working group gathers experts from State Police, State Border Guard, State Emergency Medical Service, the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, Prison Service, Riga Municipality Police, Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and State Probation Service.
As in the previous year the institutions worked intensively towards the prevention of money laundering, terrorism and proliferation financing on a national level, at the end of 2019 the Terrorism financing investigation coordination working group was established, according to the Terrorism financing prevention strategy for 2019-2021 prepared by VDD. The working group is led by VDD and it gathers representatives from the Financial Intelligence Unit, Prosecutor General’s Office, State Revenue Service and State Police. The participants of the meeting were introduced with the working group’s activities and the achieved results in the first six months.
The advisory council is a consultative and coordinating institution and its goal is to enhance and develop the cooperation among VDD and other state and municipal authorities in the counterterrorism field in order to secure the state’s preparedness to effectively prevent terrorism threats and remedy their consequences. The advisory council was established in 2006 and it consists of representatives from the Constitution Protection Bureau, Defense Intelligence and Security Service, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prosecutor General’s Office, Financial Intelligence Unit, Latvian National Armed Forces, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and the Financial and Capital Market Commission.
Information was prepared by VDD