Norwegian police carrying weapons. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix
In a press release sent on Thursday, the Police Directorate said that the temporary order to bear weapons will not be renewed when it expires on February 3rd.
Norway’s police force, which consists of some 6,000 uniformed police officers, normally keep their weapons locked in their patrol vehicles. But in November 2014, police were given the the authority to carry their service weapons in their belts after the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) raised the threat level because of the risk of a terror attack.
One year later, on November 13th, 2015, the Police Directorate announced a plan to end the temporary order. That plan was scrapped after terror attacks in Paris left 130 people dead. The authority to carry weapons was since extended two more times, first through December and then through February 3rd.
But on Thursday, the Police Directorate said that the order would not be renewed and Norwegian police would go back to having their weapons securely stored.
“The Police Directorate’s overall professional assessment is that there are no grounds to continue the temporary armament, police director Odd Reidar Humlegård said.
In December, the Norwegian Police Federation (Politiets Fellesforbund) requested that police be permanently armed and Justice Minister Anders Anundsen said he had appointed a committee to consider the request.
But Humlegård said that the current situation in Norway did not justify armed police.
“As police director, I understand that many employees believe that armament is a necessary tool. But at the same time we are subject to the pertinent regulations on weapons,” he said.
The Police Directorate said that should Norway’s threat assessment change, police would once again consider temporarily carrying weapons.
Under Norwegian regulations, police must have a service weapon stored and available in all patrol vehicles. Other officers who are approved for armed service can also carry weapons when the situation calls for it.