Danish police call for public to report hate crimes

The National Police has launched an initiative it hopes will encourage the public to report hate crimes.

Danish police call for public to report hate crimes
Photo: Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix

Although annual police figures show little change in the amount of reported hate crimes, instances are not always reported, according to a National Police (Rigspolitiet) press release.

The police say they will continue working with interest organizations as well as launching a campaign to encourage witnesses and victims to report potential hate crimes.

A total of 449 hate crimes were registered in Denmark in 2018, compared to 446 the year before.

But the conclusions of the annual report suggest that more police resources are required regarding hate crime, according to Tenna Wilbert, head of the police’s National Prevention Centre (Nationalt Forebyggelsescenter) against extremism.

“Hate crime is a prioritized area which police have high focus on. But it is also a complex area because a hate crime can be anything from offensive shouts on the street to graffiti to serious violence, and it can be hard to ascertain what the motive is for the crime,” Wilbert said in the press release.

“If we are to be able to investigate and improve prevention, it’s important that we know the extent and know where hate crime is taking place. That’s why we are working to get … more people to report to police if they have been subjected to a hate crime,” she continued.

“We are doing that through increased partnership with interest organizations and through a new campaign,” Wilbert added.

The campaign is entitled ‘Stop hadet’ (Stop the Hate).

“It’s important that all hate crime is reported, even if it’s just a ‘smaller’ offense, like being verbally abused on the way home from a night out,” Wilbert said.

“Police can’t always find the persons responsible for a given incident, but every report helps to paint a picture of an area and show whether there’s a trend we need to tackle,” she said.

2018 saw 84 formal charges for hate crimes brought against 101 persons throughout the country, compared to 95 charges against 102 persons in 2017.

Hate crimes reported in 2018 consisted primarily of violence, vandalism, hate speech and threats. Of the 449 registered hate crimes, 89 took place on the internet, according to the police figures.

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Denmark says 450 extra police officers will strengthen response to rape, assault and break-ins

Victims of violence and rape in Denmark are Monday today guaranteed police offers will be dispatched to assist if they need acute help.

A file photo of a police motorcycle. A new Danish police guarantee requires officers to be dispatched to attend all reports of assault and rape as well as locations of break-ins.
A file photo of a police motorcycle. A new Danish police guarantee requires officers to be dispatched to attend all reports of assault and rape as well as locations of break-ins. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Police are also now required to attend addresses within 24 hours after reports of a break-in.

The new standards are included in a new “police guarantee” confirmed by the Ministry of Justice in a statement. The guarantee was included in the police funding bill voted through by parliament in December 2020.

Justice minister Nick Hækkerup said that police can meet that guarantee, pointing to the provision in the police bill to add 450 officers to Denmark’s police forces during the course of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

But the trade union for the police, Politiforbundet, says that the total police force must be increased by 5,000 officers if the guarantee is to be lived up to.

“I am completely confident in relation to the extra resources which will be added to the police in coming years being enough to fulfil the guarantee,” Hækkerup said.

“I want to see their calculations,” the minister said in relation to the police union’s number.

“That is equivalent to us needing to increase our police staffing by 50 percent to be able to meet the guarantee we have set,” he added.

The police union has also criticised the guarantee because they see it could result in other tasks being delayed.

“Then there wouldn’t be enough resources for tasks like domestic incidents, traffic accidents and mentally ill member of the public,” the union’s leader Heino Kegel said.

Hækkerup rejected the suggestion resources would be pulled away from other areas.

“It’s not as if this is a completely new task. It’s a task we already undertake,” he said.

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