Denmark’s courts hand out tougher sentences for rape, violence

The majority of crimes are being punished with tougher sentences than before, according to a judge's association in Denmark.

Denmark’s courts hand out tougher sentences for rape, violence
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Convictions for crimes such as rape and assault are being met with stronger punishments than in previous years, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

The length of punishment for violent assault increased by 25 percent between 2011 and 2017, while rape convictions are resulting in a 20 percent longer sentence after the same timeframe. Sentences for paedophilia have also increased, by an average of 36 percent, according to newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad, which reported a breakdown of the figures.

The trend reflects political will to apply tougher punishments on crime, according to Michael Sjöberg, chairperson of the Association of Danish Judges (Dommerforeningen).

“We are following the wishes of the government and parliament. We are now giving tougher punishments for almost all crimes,” Sjöberg told Kristeligt Dagblad.

A further example of the trend is the sentence given for illegal possession of weapons, which has increased from an average measurable in months to two years in prison.

Minister of Justice Søren Pape Poulsen reacted positively to the figures.

“Dangerous crime can have consequences for individual lives and for individual victims. Having to stay behind bars longer may put off or scare away some people from committing crimes, so I am pleased to see this trend,” Poulsen said to Kristeligt Dagblad.

READ ALSO: Gang member sentenced to 20 years in prison, deportation for attempted murder of police officers


Copenhagen police lift stop-and-search zone

Police in Copenhagen have announced that stop and search zones put in place following a spate of knife violence in the Danish capital will now be lifted, after no further incidents occurred in the last week.

Copenhagen police lift stop-and-search zone

The stop and search zones (also called “visitation zones”), which were in effect in parts of the Nørrebro and Nordvest neighbourhoods, will not be continued and will expire on Thursday, police confirmed.

Recent weeks have not seen any further incidents, police stated, in reference to a spate of violence that flared in the area at the end of 2022.

When the zones are in effect, police within the zone can stop people and check their possessions without meeting the usual requirements to do so.

The stop-and-search zone was put in place on December 29th in response to five stabbings within a week in Copenhagen. It was extended on January 5th.

At the time, police said they believed several of the stabbings were between young men associated with criminal circles, but that there had been no sign of a conflict between established crime groups.

In Thursday’s tweet, police said that investigations into the incidents were “progressing”. No arrests have yet been made.