It didn’t last long: Just four days after being ordered to re-arm themselves, Oslo police received the opposite message over the weekend. As of Saturday, police officers on patrol in the Norwegian capital are no longer carrying loaded guns.
“After an overall evaluation at a strategic level, the order to arm was withdrawn,” Ola Krokan, operations leader for the Oslo Police District, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Sunday. The order took effect from midnight on Friday.
After the terrorist attacks in Brussels last Tuesday, police districts in Norway were given the option of rearming or not. Police on patrol in Norway traditionally are unarmed, but started carrying weapons in 2014 following an increase in the terror threat against Norway. The arming was branded as “temporary,” however, and after several extensions granted by the Justice Ministry, it expired in early February.
While most police districts remained unarmed, police in Oslo, Asker and Bærum were ordered to bear arms once again as part of several emergency measures after the Brussels attacks imposed “to create security,” according to police officials.
“This is because of the unclear situation in Belgium, both in terms of its scope and who’s behind it,” stated Roger Andresen, acting police chief in Oslo, in a press release on March 22. The decision was also made, Andresen said, because of Oslo’s role as the national capital with many “symbolic terror targets” and because it’s a traffic hub.
The arming applied immediately to all police patrols in the district, which now also includes suburban Asker and Bærum. The numbers of patrols were increased as well.
Andresen had stressed, though, that the actual terror threat in Oslo had not risen. As investigations into the Brussels attacks have unfolded, no clear links to Norway emerged either. On March 26, the arming order was thus withdrawn.