A critical evaluation of the risk indicators

A critical evaluation of the risk indicators

Terrorist attacks using explosives and CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) materials have been present throughout history. While the frequency of CBRN terrorist attacks is relatively low compared to those with explosives and other types of weapons, it is crucial to treat the efforts of both terrorist organizations and individuals with appropriate gravity in order to avert catastrophic consequences. Identifying warning signs that indicate criminal behaviour is crucial for preventing planned crimes or terrorist attacks, and there is a need for more precise coverage of potential risk indicators related to CBRN and explosive crimes.

This research aimed at examining and scrutinizing possible warning signs associated with planning and conducting terrorist attacks using CBRN and explosive materials. The research was implemented in three phases.


Ø  First, comprise the systematic literature review.


Ø  In the second phase, the case studies and CCTV records from past cases from Europe, USA, Australia and Asia were analysed and the aim was to create a list of risk indicators and categories for future reference by developing a methodological tool.


Ø  The last phase represented a survey in which the practitioners from European Law enforcement and Intelligence Agencies critically assessed the list of risk indicators and their categories created based on the previous two steps of the research. The last goal was to gain the agreement and endorsement of law enforcement officials from different European nations regarding the validity and importance of recognized risk indicators and their categories, as well as their ranking for use in operational tasks, investigations, and training.


The majority of the respondents found the identified categories and risk indicators as reliable and relevant for their operational activities and investigations. For the second research question, the survey results prioritized categories of risk indicators that are most suitable for the detection tactics of investigators and intelligence officers. The third research question examined the ease of observing identified risk indicators, with the category of technological detection/air sampling alarm risk indicators ranking as the easiest to detect. Finally, the survey found that the identified risk indicators are useful for training activities of security entities. Several final comments and recommendations from participants were also discussed, emphasizing the importance of considering multiple factors when identifying risk indicators and the value of the comprehensive list of identified risk indicators. The publication also examines some terrorist theories, the advantages, limitations, and the ongoing debate surrounding the use of profiling in protective security.

If you are interested in reading research results (final version), feel free to visit the Researchgate page:

Those who are from Law enforcement or Intelligence agencies can get access to the NON-PUBLIC Version upon request on email: 
kolencik@isemi.sk (from the official governmental email address).



Marian KOLENCIK, International Security and Emergency Management Institute, Slovakia