Police response time worsens

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A new data analysis shows that Norwegian police on average use 23 minutes to respond to calls for help, twice as long as what police earlier thought themselves. When they need to take time to arm themselves, the response time is even longer.

It can take up to 40 minutes for armed police to respond to calls for help, according to the analysis of response times accumulated at the request of state director of police Odd Reidar Humlegård. He told newspaper Aftenposten that “20 to 30 minutes can be a long time when it’s a matter of life and death.”

The data was compiled from GPS positions for 235,000 police assignments between January 12 and May 12 of this year. Fully 22,300 of the assignments involved calls for urgent help from people who had rung the police emergency number 112 (similar to 911 in the US).

Response time in the cities can be much quicker, and the quickest responses actually occurred late on Friday nights, when police are especially busy. That’s because many were already on patrol and can, for example, be close to where trouble breaks out. Long distances in outlying areas made average response times longer, but Humlegård thinks the differences are too great. He wants to make it a priority to cut response times, and thinks consolidation of police districts can help.

newsinenglish.no staff

  • Observer2796

    Where I live this problem is solved by assigning a police “neighbourhood director”. This officer(s) is always on call and knows the community.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      These response time statistics direct attention away from far more serious problems within our police force. Like our økokrim (special force for investigating economical fraud etc,) force. The more money they get the less cases they bring to Court. – The Norwegian policeman must be the best paid in Europe (- in the world…)? So, it is not about money.
      While all our public services have been through huge rationalisation processes With emphasis on results and efficiency – from our defence to health care, our police have not been touched. They say that our brownish/bluish Frp has a high standing among the police force, and might find a shorter way to their hearts.

      • Robert Neve

        I agree it’s not money. Didn’t they get in trouble a couple of years ago because it was found that they hadn’t used all of their budget and then tried to blame short comings on a lack of funds? Norway is about the only country with a properly funded force. I suspect the issues lie more in red tape, paperwork, regulation etc.

        • Tom Just Olsen

          That could well be. Our police force is being damned in report after report. The reason the Oslo Police did not have a helicopter available at the ABB strike was that they had ‘drunk up’ the petrol money and the means set aside to crew it. The money was all spent on increased salaries. With a disappointing result. Fewer crimes than ever was solved that year.
          Riksrevisjonens report was very Clear: ‘Don’t through more money after the problem!’

          • Robert Cumming

            Not true, the pilots where on summer holidays. My neighbour applied for the job as relief pilot over the 2011 summer, he got it, then was later turned down when the Oslo police decided they didn’t need the helicopter over summer. It had nothing to do with petrol and more to do with not having any pilots.

      • Kanon25

        Wasnt one of you not long ago claiming that the Norwegian police was amazing? Right….

        • Tom Just Olsen

          Ha, ha! Show me the link.

        • Robert Cumming

          sure as hell wasn’t ME, Norwegian police are pretty close to useless IMO, I’ve never had anything nice to say about Norwegian justice.

        • Robert Neve

          There was a guy (I assume a teenager from the way he talked) who did droll on and on about how they were totally awesome and should be given anything they wanted including guns. But I think the majority of us disagreed with him.

  • Robert Cumming

    They actually hired a relief pilot (my neighbor) then let him go, they didn’t have any pilots on call, without pilots it doesn’t fly, I’m sure they would have put the bird up if they could have found a pilot for it.

    • Tom Just Olsen

      Regardless, the Norwegian Police Authority (Politidirektoratet) had got the budget means to keep the helicopter flying 12 months of the year, – all expenses included. (Aftenposten put attention to it by an ingress: ‘They (police) drank up the petrol money’). So, the only ‘change’ that the Department of justice have done afterwards is to ‘demand’ that money for the helicopter shall be used for – the helicopter. Not to cover for overspending on salaries on other accounts. No more funding was necessary.