Norway’s police chief has promised to put 1,000 extra police officers on the streets over the next three years. The personnel boost is part of an overhaul of police operations, following the bombing and massacre on July 22, 2011.
The extra officers are a sweetener following a package of reforms flagged earlier this year, which would consolidate Norway’s 27 police districts into six. State police director Odd Reidar Humlegård has been met with opposition by many communities, with 135 mayors signing a protest position.
“It’s not surprising that many of the mayors whose police branches have been proposed for merges are opposed to it,” Humlegård told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). But we have analyzed 6 million call-outs since 2004 in the Norwegian police. We see that merging 144 police offices with neighbouring districts will give a much better police deal.”
Humlegård acknowledged it’s difficult to convince people policing will be better with fewer local branches, but said the mayors are defending a force that’s “worse than it needs to be.”
“I think it has been uncomfortable and difficult and demanding, to see the Norwegian police under x-ray as we have been, and see the fallout after July 22, 2011,” Humlegård told NRK. “That’s the backdrop I have for my job. It’s with great seriousness we must improve the Norwegian police where it isn’t working well enough.”