For most U.S. citizens, terrorism became an issue of focus in the wake of the Al Qaeda attacks on September 11, 2001. However, for many countries around the world, terrorism has been an issue that they have been grappling with for many decades. Among the world’s democracies, there is a surprising degree of diversity in approaches—legal, organizational and operational—toward combating this threat. While the United States has developed its own approach, looking at other models may glean some best practices and approaches that can be used to further enhance U.S. law enforcement homeland security and counterterrorism (CT) efforts.
Overall approaches to counterterrorism and a few examples of the manner in which other democracies deal with terrorism in the context of legislation and pre-charge detention—and the role of law enforcement and other agencies in CT—follow.