The director of Norway’s state police unveiled plans on Friday to consolidate police stations around the country by closing 126 and opening seven new. Odd Reidar Humlegård claims the consolidation will improve police response time and service.
“This is one of many steps we’re taking to create a better police force around the country,” Humlegård said at a press conference. He claims the current system has spread police resources too thin, and he referred to the consolidation as a “major clean-up because we have had too many small and vulnerable stations.”
While residents of small communities are unhappy they’re about to lose their local police station, most have operated with limited opening hours and few officers. Police station chiefs themselves had earlier proposed closing 130 stations, arguing they could do a better job on patrol with fewer locations that needed staffing.
Norway’s Parliament demands that 90 percent of the population should not have to travel more than 45 minutes to reach a police station. Humlegård said the reorganization plan will leave 98.6 population within 45 minutes of a station, “so we’re well within the limits.” Several stations that had been marked for closure will also remain open, including those in Grane, Hattfjelldal, Tusfjord, Smøla and Drangedal.