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Crime For Members

Norwegian police warn of escalating gang violence

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The Local ([email protected])
Norwegian police warn of escalating gang violence
Central-eastern Norway is still the most important area for actors associated with criminal gangs, according to the police's 2023 threat report. Photo by Amirhossein Hasani on Unsplash

The Norwegian police presented its threat assessment for 2023 on Tuesday. In it, it warned that gang violence might lead to deadly clashes.

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Kristin Kvigne, the head of the National Criminal Investigation Service (Kripos), took the time to accentuate the growing threat associated with gang violence during the presentation of the police's threat assessment report for 2023.

She noted that Swedish criminals coming to Norway also affect the dynamics in Norwegian gang environments.

"The market for buying and selling criminal services is increasing in scope. We have seen in recent years that organised crime increasingly uses legal businesses to commit and hide other forms of crime, and it uses professional, at-first-glance legal actors to carry these actions out", Kvigne pointed out. 

The report states that in the past year, there have been several cases where Swedish actors associated with criminal gangs in Norway have become visible when it comes to violent developments.

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The police, therefore, warn that cooperation between Swedish and Norwegian criminals is now taking place, "especially when it comes to the import and sale of drugs."

Kvigne further stated that the same tendencies are seen in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, where there has been a worsening of the situation related to organised crime, which has "influence (reaching) far into the political sphere".

"These are things that we don't want to come here and for which we must be prepared," Kvigne warned.

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Gang violence with fatal outcomes on the horizon?

Police director Benedicte Bjørnland warned that multiple threats accentuated in this year's threat report could be linked to criminal networks.

"Several of the threats highlighted in this year's report can be linked to criminal networks and organised crime, including gang crime," Bjørnland said at the press conference.

"It is likely that there will be violent incidents with a potentially fatal outcome as a result of the gangs' internal conflicts in 2023," the report warned, among other things.

"What we see is that they (gang members) are primarily a danger to themselves and other criminals. Fortunately, they have not posed any threat to the public, although it is very unfortunate that we have had incidents of violence in the public space," Bjørnland noted.

Central-eastern Norway is still the most important area for actors associated with criminal gangs, as well as the largest drug market in Norway. Gang crime remains linked to Norway's big cities.

The report also mentions that criminal networks in Norway are controlled from abroad to a greater extent than before.

Other highlighted threats

The police also expect individuals with mental illnesses to commit murder and violent crimes in 2023. According to most police districts in Norway, this type of crime is an ongoing and significant danger to society.

Furthermore, the report suggests that individuals with extremist beliefs and supporters of conspiracy theories may commit violent acts this year.

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