Summer drunks keep police busy

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Summertime in Norway is more than just long days, light nights and holiday relaxation. For the police, frequent summer partying can lead to a sharp rise in public disturbances and violence, especially on the weekends. This past weekend was no exception.

Police all over Norway are extra busy during summer weekends, dealing with everything from drunk driving to street brawls and violence often tied to excessive partying. PHOTO: Politi

Police in most of Norway’s major cities had to deal with everything from street violence in Tønsberg to robbery in Bergen, brawls in Stavanger and a stabbing in Drammen. They blame much of the ongoing trouble on alcohol and all the so-called “festivals” now flourishing all over the country.

“Even though we double our staffing on the weekends, the large numbers of summer guests and big festivals leave us with our hands full,” Ole Bjørn Sakrisvold of the Vestfold Police District in Tønsberg told Aftenposten.no.

On Friday night, for example, a 23-year-old Norwegian man was arrested after attacking a former girlfriend and two of her friends in downtown Tønsberg at around 2am. He was released Saturday evening with a restraining order and now faces indictment.

The Tønsberg police are now bracing for a busier week ahead, with both the Slottsfjellfestivalen, an annual series of concerts on a local historic hilltop downtown, and the Jarlsberg Grand Prix for horse-racing enthusiasts just outside town. Tønsberg is also the gateway for summer vacationers with cabins on popular local islands like Nøtterøy, Tjøme and Hvasser, with folks often heading into town in the evening, looking for fun.

Holiday drunkenness is often behind the seasonal surge in citations for disturbing the peace.  “The weekend rush begins around midnight and last night it didn’t calm down until 5am,” Finn Belle of the Oslo Police District told Aftenposten.no on Sunday.

In Stavanger, police had a hectic weekend with several street fights around town, reported the website for newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad. Many occurred around Rosenkilde-torget, Kongsgårdsbakken and Torget after the bars closed at 1:30am.

In Drammen, a stabbing incident at Stømsø meant that police were too busy to respond to some complaints over loud music and partying in various neighbourhoods. One operations leader for Buskerud County police in Drammen and Kongsberg wrote in a log that they’d received “a lot of reports of drunk folks and disturbances of the peace.”

Police in Trondheim and Bergen were also dealing with drunk drivers and a robbery, while in Kristiansand police caught a man taking lewd photos of unsuspecting women on the city’s main street, Markens.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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