Morality squad sought as sex crimes escalate

After a summer that saw a spike in sexual assault across the country and experts drawing links to the “porno generation”, Norwegian politicians are being asked by opposition leaders to revive plans for a national morality police squad.

“The government’s own sexual assault and women’s rights committees suggested a morality police, but nothing has happened,” Liberal party deputy leader Ola Elvestuen was quoted by newspaper Aftenposten as saying.

Elvestuen said the justice department had “disappointed” in a battle to stem surging numbers of rapes, especially in Oslo. He said the two special committees decided three years ago to establish SEPOL, a special squad for sexualized violence that was to work round-the-clock with police to analyse their investigations reports.

But the justice minister’s office mocked the assertion that SEPOL be revived, telling opposition politicians it had long been decided to hand sex crimes over to a sub-unit of the police special investigations force KRYPOS, normally a white-collar crimes outfit.

In May 2011, Oslo police released a report on 2010’s rape cases saying there were 189 reported cases, up 16 percent year-on-year. They qualified the numbers by saying men and women are both to blame in the opening phases of sexual encounters, but that women soon find they’re part of a degrading experience they had been powerless to stop.

Alcohol use, police say, often smoothes the transition from pleasant to nightmarish.

When its bars close, Oslo Sentrum — where many assaults take place — empties alcohol-infused revellers into lush darkened neighbourhoods and parks. The Palace Park, or Slottsparket, was the scene for a late-August attack when a woman walking home alone an hour after midnight was approached by a man.

The assault occurred while crowds of people were still milling around near the palace, the witness told police.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norwegian police end emergency carrying of arms

The temporary arming of all police in Norway, ordered after an attack in Kongsberg left five dead, ended on Friday morning. 

Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo.
Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo. Photo by David Hall on Flickr.

The order for all police in Norway to be armed following an attack in Kongsberg last week was lifted on Friday morning. 

The police said in a statement Friday that, based on the information it had received from police security service PST, there was no longer any basis for maintaining the national armament order. 

“Norwegian police are basically unarmed in daily service, with firearms being stored in police vehicles, and police can be armed in connection with specific missions when needed. In that sense, we are now moving to a normal situation,” Tone Vangen, emergency preparedness director for the police, said in a statement

The police had been armed since last Wednesday following the incident in Kongsberg where Danish citizen Espen Andersen Bråthen killed five with an undisclosed sharp object and shot at police with a bow and arrow.

During police questioning, Bråthen confessed to the killings and to wounding three others. 

Police said earlier this week that the victims were chosen at random. The Danish citizen was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Bråthen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

The 37-year-old had previously announced publicly that he had converted to Islam and police initially reported that there had been fears of radicalisation. 

But police later said that mental illness was to be considered the primary motive for the attack. 

 “As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt said to reporters earlier this week.