Supo combats terrorism through intelligence

Supo applies intelligence methods to combat terrorism, seeking to detect terrorist activities and related phenomena at the earliest possible stage.

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Terrorism is no ordinary form of criminality, but has a strong social specificity. Terrorist acts seek to evoke fear in society. They often have political effects, and sometimes also economic repercussions.

The mission of Supo is to ward off the most serious threats to national security. Terrorism is one of these threats.

The role of Supo in combating terrorism is to use intelligence gathering methods to gain information about terrorist activities. The mission of Supo is to expose terrorist operations that occur in Finland or are launched from Finland at the earliest possible stage.

Supo provides proactive intelligence on terrorism-related phenomena to support state leaders’ decision-making. Supo also seeks to expose terrorist activities through its own operations, exchanging intelligence closely and continuously with other public authorities and international partners.

Counterterrorism relies on collaboration between all public authorities and societal operators. The police remain primarily responsible for combating and preventing terrorism.

What is terrorist activity?

Terrorism manifests in terror attacks based on an ideology that justifies the use of violence. The targets of such attacks may include the civilian population, enemy symbols or critical infrastructure.

Terrorist activity also includes non-violent support for terrorist organisations. Such support may include for example recruiting new members or creating or disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Financing is an essential means of supporting terrorism. Funds may be raised, for example, for financing planned attacks, providing financial support to individuals or groups that take part in terrorist activities, paying salaries, or acquiring material. Fundraising may also involve pressure and coercion. 

Countries differ in respect of the acts or ideologies that are interpreted as terrorist. The United Nations and the European Union maintain lists of terrorist organisations. Terrorist offences are explicitly criminalised under the Penal Code of Finland.

National Counterterrorism Strategy 2022–2025

The aims and means of counterterrorism are based on a government resolution on the national counterterrorism strategy. The goal is for Finland to remain a safe country.

The strategy seeks to ensure that Finland maintains sufficient readiness and operational capacity to combat terrorism. This requires long-term collaboration between public authorities. The Ministry of the Interior oversees implementation of the strategy.