Assaults on officers are on the rise in Norway and there’s a big debate about whether the police should be armed, the Norwegian Police Federation has said.
The Vice Chair of the Norwegian Police Federation, Unn Alma Skatvold – who is also Vice President of EuroCOP – said that assaults against officers were on the rise partly due to riots and a rise in organised crime.
She added that recent police reform in Norway had also been a challenge: “We have had big reforms in Norway and new districts, and of course everything is still getting in place, but there are also challenges around violence against police, more gangs, more brutality. The Norwegian Police are not armed, so that’s a big debate in Norway, whether the police should be armed or not.”
There were also budget problems in Norway that meant that many people who trained at the police academy were not able to get jobs, and were having to find work elsewhere. In Oslo, they get more than 500 applicants for every police officer position.
Unn Alma said: “We need all those officers to be out patrolling, we don’t want them selling shoes.”
But in general, Norway was a good place to be a police officer, Unn Alma said: “The trust in the Norwegian Police is very, very high – more than 90%, so it’s not a bad country to be an officer.”
She added that Norway had been “lucky” during the pandemic: “We haven’t had it as bad as many other countries. But there has been some trouble about getting the vaccine very late for police officers. We haven’t been prioritised in Norway. And right now there are some issues because you can’t ask who is vaccinated or not, so you don’t know if your colleagues are vaccinated.”