Norwegian traffic police as photographed in 2010, and as photoshopped lust objects. Photo: Toni Kaarttinen/Flickr
They may not be armed but they're certainly packing! A photo purporting to show a trio of buff Norwegian traffic police in their summer uniform has spread like wildfire across social media.
It all seems to have started when Anton Maijan, who describes himself as “Go-Go dancer with the Berlin Boys”, posted the picture on his Facebook page.
“Now summer has started you can see some agents of the Norwegian traffic police in their special summer uniform,” he wrote.
The photo was then shared a gargantuan 7,500 times.
Before long it had hit the micro-blogging service Twitter.
For some reason the amount of sharing picked up over the weekend, as the Oslo Pride festival had its grand finale.
The appeal is universal.
Some pointed out that the combination of bulging muscles and tight uniforms was reminiscent of the work of an artist and illustrator from a next door nation.
Before long, however, people began to suspect that the bulging wet lycra look might not be entirely genuine.
Others cite it as an example of what a difference a little Photoshop can make.
Toni Kaarttinen, the Finnish editor and photographer who took the original picture on holiday in Norway back in 2010, told The Local that he had initially been unhappy when he came across his photo on Facebook without any credit.
"I was following a Facebook group and suddenly there was a picture that looked really familiar, so I had to go and check, 'is it my picture?'. At first I was a bit surprised and maybe just a little bit disappointed, because there was no request, but then I thought it was kind of amusing."
He's now Facebook and Instagram friends with Ion Wolf, the man responsible for the photoshopped version.
"It was quite easily able to track down the guy who made the photoshopped version," he said.
He says he originally took the picture simply because he found the idea of bicycle police interesting, as they don't exist in Finland.
"With the policemen and uniforms, of course there's always a sexual undertone, but not in the way it was photoshopped later on," he continues.
"It's like a play on the masculinity of the policemen," he argues. "There's a bit of a Tom of Finland aesthetic in the photoshopped version of the picture."