• Denmark's news in English
Danish police taking asylum seekers' phones
Police now say they will get the phones back to asylum seekers quicker. Photo: MARKO DJURICA/Scanpix

Danish police taking asylum seekers' phones

The Local · 16 Feb 2016, 13:03

Published: 16 Feb 2016 13:03 GMT+01:00

Police officers are taking the phones in an attempt to verify the identity and home country of the asylum seekers, a Danish National Police spokesman confirmed. 
“If you come to the country and say that you are from Syria but don’t have anything but your blank expression to prove it, then mobile phones are the best way to ensure that you’re telling the truth or whether all of your calls turn out to be to Ghana,” Richard Østerlund la Cour told Politiken
He said that all of the minors get their phones back after police have confirmed their identities, but Politiken reported that some minors have been without their phones for months and left unable to contact their family members. 
After the publication of Politiken’s report on Tuesday morning, a number of politicians called on police to speed up the process. La Cour later told broadcaster DR that police are also sometimes taking the phones of adult asylum seekers as well and there is therefore a backlog causing delays in returning them. 
“Everyone is aware of the situation in the second half of 2015, when we received more asylum seekers than ever before and that has challenged us in terms of both resources and capacity,” he said. 
Over 2,000 unaccompanied minors sought asylum in Denmark last year, compared to the historic yearly average of 250. 
La Cour said the Danish National Police were “aware” of the problem and working on getting the phones back to asylum seekers “faster than we have thus far”. 
According to Politiken's report, many of the minors have been without their phones for upwards of one month. In one case, the phone of an underage asylum seeker was held for six months but police found evidence on the phone to tie him to a human smuggling case. 
Save the Children Denmark (Red Barnet) criticized the police for holding on to the phones of minors for so long. 
Story continues below…
“One makes the youths, who are already so vulnerable, even more marginalized by taking their phones. They lose their photos, emails, and the numbers for their family and friends and are suddenly left alone,” the organization’s senior consultant Gitte Jakobsen said. 
The phone confiscations are not directly tied to Denmark’s recently-passed – and much-discussed –  ‘jewellery law’ but rather under existing rules that allow police to take the phones if they are “assumed to be of importance for establishing a foreigner’s identity”.  

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Denmark takes historic step for transgender rights
Competitors perform on stage during Israel's first Miss Trans beauty pageant last week. Photo: Menahem Kahana/Scanpix

Nation becomes the first in the world to officially no longer consider being transgender a mental illness.

Denmark to impose new 'integration' rules on kids
Integration Minister Inger Støjberg. Photo: Simon Læssøe/Scanpix

Following an EU ruling last month, the Danish government is fast-tracking new legislation that will put greater emphasis on children's ‘ability to integrate’.

After 1,000 years, ‘forgotten’ Danish Viking fortress opens
The 'forgotten' Viking fortress is one of five in Denmark. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix

The historic discovery of a fifth Viking ring fortress was celebrated in grand style on Monday and will open to the public on Wednesday.

Danish royals: Only Prince Christian should get money
Only Prince Christian, shown here with his father Crown Prince Frederik at the opening of a revamped Skovshoved Marina, should expect taxpayer funding. Photo: Michael Bothager/Scanpix

Danish MPs may not need to decide which royal grandchildren to cut off financially after all.

American tourists flocking to Copenhagen
The number of overnight stays and international passengers are both up sharply in the first quarter of 2016. Photo:

American tourists flocking to Copenhagen

1 day ago

A number of new low-price flight options have given the Danish capital a major tourism boost.

My Danish Career
'I was fired from my first Danish job after nine days'
Henrik Cullen is a British-born expat who also holds Danish nationality. Photo: Juan Franco

In the latest instalment of My Danish Career, we spot with British-Danish 'local expat' Henrik Cullen who overcame a rough start to find success in Copenhagen.

Danish man gets stuck in museum chimney
Not the actual chimney. Photo: Adrian Scottow/Flickr

Maybe he just couldn't wait until the museum opened on Monday.

Denmark ready to cut off money to royal grandkids
Queen Margrethe and her eight grandchildren waving to well-wishers on the queens's birthday last month. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix 2016

Politicians appear ready to limit the number of Queen Margrethe’s grandchildren who get an annual salary from the state.

First service marks Battle of Jutland centenary
A memorial park to mark the world's largest naval battle that took place May 31, 1916 during World War will soon open in Denmark. Photo: Scanpix

Britain yesterday kicked off a week of commemorations marking one hundred years since the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of World War I.

Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Øresund Bridge connects Copenhagen to Malmö. Photo: Colourbox

Dozens of attempts to cross the Øresund Bridge have been made, but this is the first successful crossing.

Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Green card holders in Denmark in race against time
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
How Copenhagen achieved an ‘organic food revolution’
The second best destination in all of Europe is...
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
We are the champions! Denmark wins world badminton team title
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
After 100 years, British WW1 sailor identified in Denmark
Strangest political story in Denmark just got stranger
Keeping Denmark in Europol 'maybe impossible'
Analysis & Opinion
Green card holders tell Denmark to keep its promise
Denmark picks F-35 in historic jet purchase
Denmark to no longer define transgender as mental illness
Danish minister tells 'Sharia' troublemakers to 'get a job'
Danish 'martyr' exhibit reported to police
Denmark extends 'temporary' border measures for sixth time
Denmark nears final decision on controversial fighter jets
Muslim ‘girls only’ swimming sessions ripple Danish waters
Could Danes face a 'red meat tax' to help climate?
Denmark unable to process or issue visas
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Denmark to go to war against Isis in Syria
Business & Money
How Denmark’s national bank card is about to change
The best Danish bands you've (maybe) never heard of
Danes leaving the church in droves
Atheist campaign gets Danes to leave the church in droves
jobs available