Police don’t want to bear arms

Many foreign journalists covering the July terrorist attacks in Norway were surprised to learn that Norwegian police are generally unarmed. A new survey indicates they want to stay that way.

A majority of police in Norway want to maintain a "civil" image and don't want to always be armed. PHOTO: Views and News

“We want to have a police force that can handle the most demanding assignments with the least amount of force,” Arne Johannessen, head of the police officers’ union Politiets Fellesforbund, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) this week.

A survey of the union’s own members showed that fully 60 percent of the police officers questioned said they do not want to be armed at all times. At present, they only arm themselves after receiving authorization in dangerous situations.

Johannessen said that after evaluating the survey, comparing Norway’s practice with that in other countries where police are armed, and talking with weapons experts, Fellesforbund had decided to officially support the policy that being armed will not be standard practice in Norway.

Debate has broken out on the arms issue over the years, and especially after the July 22 terrorist attacks in Oslo and the island of Utøya. Johannessen said that even after the attacks and increased threat of terrorism, the police want to retain what he called “a civil image” and the ability to work closely with the public.

He noted that even though the majority opposed standard arming, their opposition is based on a few conditions including better staffing so that police can more quickly receive back-up as needed.

“And we must have easier access to weapons when we’re in a dangerous situation,” Johannessen told NRK. “That means having weapons storage in all police districts, both one- and two-handed weapons, and revision of weapon instruction in Norway.”

He’s calling for national rules that would allow lower-ranking police officers to approve arms use, not just the local police chief.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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  • http://twitter.com/notbobsaget david bowie

    wouldnt it be ok for norway to invade us and share some of their democracy with us? seems like they have a better republic.

    • COlden

      Republic? Kingdom.

      • http://forummundus.blogspot.com J. Carlos Del Pozo

        Constitutional monarchy. The royal family doesn’t have real power in politics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RWW3YFUN4AYFZD3GLKUNVEQLNI Jon Jonson

    what? police dont holding arms?

  • bcma 2009

    The norway police is very stupid.

    • kiwirob

      If you’ve been to a Norwegian airport the police there carry weapons, wandering around a city street with a weapon is daft, if you start to arm the cops the criminals also arm themselves, gun crime in Norway is very low, so no need for regular cops with guns.