Norway investigation service considering ‘Facebook police’

Norway’s criminal investigation service Kripos is looking into opening “uniformed police profiles” which would patrol the social media website.

Norway investigation service considering 'Facebook police'
Photo: Mactrunk/Depositphotos

The police agency is looking into the legal aspects of enabling police accounts access to groups and other parts of the site that are not open to the public, reports newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

“We have looked into the possibility of creating uniformed accounts. But we have not decided whether it is something we should do,” communications officer Axel Wilhelm Due of Kripos told the newspaper.

Facebook has not previously provided police with profiles that have special access to the social media, but police can apply for access to closed accounts in connection with their inquiries, reports the newspaper.

Police in Norway have previously used fake profiles to investigate crimes such as smuggling, broadcaster NRK reported earlier this month.

The company’s Norwegian PR representative Släger Kommunikasjon wrote to the newspaper in an email that it did not wish to comment specifically on verified police profiles at the current time.

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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.