Norwegian government officials have been catching a lot of criticism lately over various reforms they’re trying to carry out in the areas of defense, hospitals, local and county government and agriculture. Now their much hyped reform of how the state police will be organized is being ridiculed, by the police themselves.
The reform was aimed at establishing a “nærpoliti,” or police nearby and ready to respond to emergencies. Consolidation of police stations and closure of offices in small communities has sparked complaints that the police will be anything but “near.”
“It’s not easy to see that this is a reform to get more police nearer the public,” said state official Vivi Lassen when she handed over a status report to Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen about how the reform is being carried out. “Both police, local government officials and most people view this as centralization in one way or another.”
The report notes that police officers think the reform and its goals are ironic, and they’re discrediting the name of the program, which will cut the number of police districts from 27 to 12 and shut down 130 local offices and police stations nationwide.
Amundsen admitted the name was unfortunate. “”We have to live with it, but we could have called (the reform program) something else,” he said this week. He added that what’s most important is the reform itself, which is aimed at having more police out on patrol instead of administering small offices.