Both organized crime (OC) and terrorist networks (TN) are major threats for the European Union and its population. On the one hand, the number and value of assets confiscated from organized crime are more and more increasing in Europe, which indicates its rise in Europe and its challenge of the legal economy or tax base of many nation states. On the other hand, Europe is facing an increasing number of individuals, who are recruited as foreign fighters or for terrorist attacks within Europe. In addition the direct implications, an atmosphere of fear is created.
Additionally, the economic costs for prevention and fighting OC and TN are increasing. This is particularly relevant in times of austerity measures, when the reduction of integration programs and support of marginalized groups is increasing the boundaries between the milieus. Even in allegedly “egalitarian” societies, the entrenchment within societies is increasing and producing classes of “left-behinds” with no chance for upwards social mobility. And it is often young people with no future perspectives, who are at risk of becoming engaged in criminal organizations or in terrorist networks. It is the combination of these challenges and respective policies, which are ultimately challenging social cohesion in Europe.
the body of scientific knowledge, outcomes from EU-projects as well as further data and indicators that address organized crime and terrorist networks, connected with an interdisciplinary review of existing models regarding their explanatory power and their usability.
the social, psychological and economic aspects of OC/TN and their impact on social cohesion by researching first-line practitioners, policy makers and researchers, combined with interviews, focus groups and workshops with law enforcement agencies and others.
dynamic, multi-dimensional models for OC/TN that reflect the complexity of individual and structural dimensions, geographical scale as well as the forms and levels of responses related to different stakeholder groups and first-line practitioners.
TAKEDOWN Toolkits including action plans, response strategies, technological concepts, and best practices, with focus on specific needs of first-line-practitioners as well as professionals in law enforcement, and create policy recommendations and policy briefs for policy makers.
a web based TAKEDOWN Open Information Hub with knowledge and public service modules, helpline navigators, toolkits and materials for practitioners, and a centralised, intelligent reporting tool on digital cases of OC/TN with modern crowd-tagging functionalities.
a modular TAKEDOWN Solutions Platform build as a flexible PaaS hosting digital security solutions for professionals with a centralised Security Solution Dashboard that is aggregating solution activity streams and includes digital reporting tool alert visualisations.
the collaboration between the research community, public agencies, practitioners and industry (especially SMEs) providing a digital TAKEDOWN Professional Advisor to support the selection of the right solutions providers, experts and approaches to tackle OC/TN challenges.
A lot of research focused on the various dimensions of OC and TN, but there are several weak spots.
Research analyzed the phenomena separately or followed rather mono-causal approaches. Some studies either used economic opportunities, psychological conditions or religion as an explaining variable. Others emphasized that it is only a matter of social relations.
Additionally, this literature is expert-focused, which leads to a knowledge-gap between the scientific community and first-line-practitioners, law enforcement agencies or solution developers. These groups often don’t have the resources to screen and process the scientific insights in a way, which makes them viable for their work.
The TAKEDOWN project thus intends to address this knowledge gap
In a first step, TAKEDOWN will review the scientific literature, data and indicators on OC and TN, with a special emphasis on outcomes of recent EU-projects.
The review will particularly focus on the functions of organized crime groups and terrorist networks and on the individual and structural trajectories, causes and other layers such as the technological dimension.
The interdisciplinary, comprehensive analysis of existing OC and TN models will particularly focus on their causal spectrum, their explanatory power and their usability for this project.
Additionally, stakeholders and key representatives of stakeholder groups will be identified as a basis for the empirical research as well as for the expert panel, which will be set up. A screening of response approaches will bundle the knowledge on prevention, identification and intervention methods and techniques. Furthermore, the OC/TN ecosystem and public services such as national helplines, experts and contact points will be mapped.
Based on these insights, quantitative and qualitative empirical research involving different stakeholder groups will be conducted. A quantitative survey will provide insights on the perspectives and the needs of first-line-practitioners. In order to collect further information, qualitative expert-interview with researchers and policy-makers will be conducted. Workshops with practitioner-organizations and law enforcement agencies will also be organized for gathering inputs for developing the solutions. As a final part of the empirical research, workshops with security software companies will provide further input.
We must resort to more complex approaches for understanding OC and TN and for developing tailored responses.
Therefore, dynamic, multi-dimensional and knowledge-based OC and TN models will be developed in this project. They will include different layers, fields, methods and responses, and they will be structured along social, psychological, economic, cultural and further perspectives. These models will not only contribute to scientific research on these topics, but they will provide the basis for the development of the non-digital and the digital TAKEDOWN solutions.
Non-digital TAKEDOWN solutions: Against the background of the dynamic models and the insights from empirical research, toolkits for first-line practitioners will be produced. Additionally, policy briefs and policy recommendations, which should inform future policy making, will be created.
Digital TAKEDOWN solutions: An “Open Information Hub” for awareness rising, prevention, identification and intervention towards OC and TN will be developed for providing knowledge for the public and practitioners as well as other stakeholders. A closed “TAKEDOWN Solutions Platform” will host digital security solutions, advisors and strategic planning components for security professionals.