Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy: Evaluating the ‘Big Picture’

  • José María Blanco
  • Jéssica Cohen


The core of evidence-based policy should be to evaluate if counterterrorism (CT) policies work and to fix the way we can measure them. For this purpose we propose a holistic approach, a model, in order to ensure that policing designers have the best knowledge and the best intelligence when they take decisions on CT. Evaluating public policies on CT is a continuous process that offers, at least, three key moments (the existence of prior knowledge and necessary intelligence, failures in decision-making and the measurement of the effects and impacts that the policies developed have had), a process led by different actors (universities, think tanks, intelligence analysts, government civil servants, lobbyists, citizens’ desires and needs, etc.) and a process that aims not only to know the effectiveness of the policies, but also to improve future policymaking. The framework, and the six-step evaluation process we propose, try to face the ‘big picture’ of terrorism, to ensure that CT policies act against root causes, groups and individuals, terrorist objectives, actions and impacts and to confirm that these policies do not generate effects contrary to our goals or that collide with our values. Through this framework it is possible to select individual measurements, or packs of them, in order to apply evidence-based methodologies.

How to Cite
Blanco, J. M., & Cohen, J. (2015). Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy: Evaluating the ‘Big Picture’. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (13), 26-36. Retrieved from https://bulletin.cepol.europa.eu/index.php/bulletin/article/view/122