Denmark’s ‘one billion kroner’ border control is value for money: Støjberg

The cost of implementing spot checks on Denmark’s borders is three times more than previously stated by the National Police, according to a report. Immigration minister Inger Støjberg said the money was well spent.

Denmark’s 'one billion kroner' border control is value for money: Støjberg
Photo: Claus Fisker / Ritzau Scanpix

Public service’s broadcaster DR’s programme Detektor has revealed that border control costs have reached over one billion kroner – three times the amount previously stated by the National Police (Rigspolitiet).

The figure comes in part from data sent by the National Police to Detektor.

Police costs for the period 2016-2018 were 889 million kroner, DR writes.

Until the new figures emerged, the official amount spent on border control from January 4th, 2016 until December 31st, 2018 was 275 million kroner.

But that number does not take into account spending on the significant Home Guard (Hjemmeværnet) and Army contributions to the border checks, or for spending on the salaries of police officers manning the border.

In the new calculation, the National Police took into account extra wages paid to officers while they were on duty at the border.

As such, the police spent 418 million kroner in 2016, around 360 million kroner in 2017 and 166 million kroner in 2018 on border control, totalling 944 million kroner.

Money spent by the armed forces on border control is not included in the 944 million kroner-figure.

According to an email sent by the Ministry of Defence to Detektor, the Home Guard spent over 160 million kroner and the Army at least 37 million kroner on border control during the period.

That brings the overall spending to 1,091 million kroner, DR writes.

The National Police wrote to Detektor that border control had not resulted directly in extra spending on wages, because funding was “released through re-prioritization of resources from other police areas and from resources allocated to the strengthened presence in border areas in the multi-year police agreement from 2016-19”.

Minister for Immigration and Integration Inger Støjberg told Ritzau she was unsurprised by the figures and called the costs “worth every krone”.

“In that period, over 7,000 people have been refused entry and not allowed to travel into the country. Over 800 weapons have been confiscated, and a terrorist has been captured who was recently sentenced for his plans to commit terror in Copenhagen,” Støjberg said, in reference to the recent conviction on terrorism charges of a Syrian national whose accomplice was stopped at the border in Rødby.

She added that the cost of border control would pay for itself in the long term.

“In 2019, we will save four billion kroner on immigration, and that is partly because of border control, because fewer people are coming here,” she said.

Temporary border control arrangements are currently scheduled to expire on November 12th this year.

READ ALSO: Danish border control clash: 'Should Danes wait in kilometre-long queues to go on holiday?'

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Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect

Danish checks on border crossings with Sweden have come into effect.

Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect
Danish customs officers on the Øresund Bridge. File photo: Morten Germund/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government announced last month that it would bring in controls on the border, citing recent bomb explosions and gang violence.

The border checks will take place at all border crossings one or more times per week.

People travelling across the border will therefore need to carry the proper identification such as a passport or driving licence.

In a confirmation issued on Monday, Denmark’s National Police confirmed the border control was now effective and reaffirmed its intention of “preventing serious and organized crime from spreading”.

All travellers should be prepared to show identification, the police statement added.

Copenhagen and surrounding areas have been subjected to a series of explosions and gang-related shootings in recent months.

Those incidents include an explosion at the Tax Agency in the Nordhavn area of the city, for which police suspect two Swedish men. No serious injuries occurred.

“We are targeting organized crime and it is a stated goal for normal travellers to be affected as little as possible by the border control. The frequency of checks will depend upon current status of investigations and local conditions and traffic flow,” National Police director Lene Frank said in the statement.

Border control will take place in the form of spot checks and periods in which police controls will be in place. This will apply to ferry crossings between Sweden and Rønne (Bornholm), Helsingør (Zealand), Frederikshavn and Grenaa (both Jutland); traffic as on the Øresund Bridge and on all rail connections between Sweden and Denmark, Franks confirmed.

Stockholm has meanwhile announced its own response to a recent spate of violent crime incidents including explosions and fatal shootings in Sweden.

EU rules allow temporary border control within the Schengen zone for up to six months, after which application must be made to member states via the Commission's council of ministers to extend the arrangement.

Commuters between Copenhagen and Malmö and others who regularly cross the Denmark-Sweden border are likely used to bringing passports with them, given that Sweden has had its own controls in place since the European refugee crisis in late 2015.

Denmark has had checks in place on its border with Germany since January 2016, having extended them on several occasions.