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Oslo
Saturday, November 26, 2022

Police strike back at latest rash of street violence

Calling them a bunch of “extreme bullies,” Oslo police were not at all happy with groups of young men who set off more violence and vandalism this week on the Norwegian capital’s east side. Some of it was linked to Halloween, which has become popular in Norway, but police weren’t excusing it.

Police have been busy this fall with another rash of street violence and vandalism, plus some serious cases of stabbings and shootings. PHOTO: Justisdepartementet

Police told newspaper Aftenposten that around 50 youth generated lots of noise and tension in the Furuset district Monday evening (Halloween), even attacking a bus by throwing both stones, eggs and lit fireworks at it. They also set fire to the contents of garbage cans and, in the Ljan district, stole a grocery cart and then used it break a window. “The youngsters behaved like extreme bullies,” Sigve Bolstad of the Manglerud Police Station told Aftenposten.

The disturbances follow a rash of more serious violence this fall that has included stabbings and shootings, also on Oslo’s east side in the neighbourhoods of Stovner, Tveita, Kampen, Furuset and Toshov. There was also a shooting at Tøyen last weekend that police are investigating as an attempted murder. The 18-year-old victim survived.

‘Ongoing conflicts’
Police have been reluctant to call it a revival of gang warfare in Oslo, but have acknowledged “ongoing conflicts” among those involved. The nature of the conflicts was not revealed.

The incidents have prompted police to increase their uniformed presence in Oslo, but conceded that’s not enough to end the wave of violence. “Quick response and quick reaction can help prevent acts of revenge,” police inspector Rune Solberg Swahn told newspaper Dagsavisen. Police have also led joint efforts to prevent violence, including attemtps to detect early signs of criminal pressure on youngsters, get youth involved in more constructive neighbourhood activity programs and involving parents.

In some cases police have specifically refrained from being in uniform, trying instead to have plain-clothed patrols charged with trying to maintain the peace. City officials have also launched programs to find jobs for those vulnerable to gang or criminal recruitment. They’re especially concerned, though, about those under the age of 18 who often can fall prey to criminal gangs that know the youngsters are below the age of prosecution.

Solberg proposes ‘fast-track’ to prosecution
Conservative Party leader Erna Solberg, the former prime minister, told state broadcaster NRK this week that she thinks police need to react more firmly and consistently at all times, fearing that youth otherwise will lose respect for the police. She’s proposing, for example, a “fast-track” to prosecution for young lawbreakers.

The Labour-led government, meanwhile, already has proposed sharper punishment for youth offenders, with several measures currently in the hearing process.

NewsinEnglish.no/Nina Berglund

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