Danish police in fugitive hunt after prisoner escapes from hospital ward

Police in Denmark are tracking down clues as they attempt to locate an escapee from a psychiatric hospital department in Slagelse.

Danish police in fugitive hunt after prisoner escapes from hospital ward
Photo: Scanpix

Investigations on Wednesday include study of video footage, while police are also speaking to witnesses following a dramatic breakout by a prisoner from a psychiatric facility in the Zealand town of Slagelse, Ritzau reports.

“Since last night, we have been working to gather video footage, interview witnesses and speak to involved persons,” said inspector Kim Kliver of South Zealand, Lolland and Falster Police.

“We are doing this to put together pieces of the puzzle which are necessary to identify relevant individuals and find out where these people may be located,” Kliver continued.

The fugitive escaped from the facility with the help of an accomplice on Tuesday afternoon.

Shots were fired during the breakout, which occurred at around 5pm. Nobody was hit by the shots, police have confirmed.

The escaped individual has been named as 24-year-old Hemin Dilshad Saleh, who is described as 1.83 metres in height, of normal to stocky build and with short black hair, brown skin and probably with a beard.

Saleh is a leading figure in organized crime group NNV, which is connected to Copenhagen’s Nørrebro area, according to Ritzau’s reporting.

He had been remanded in custody in a case relating to a violent assault in a hairdressing salon in the Nørrebro neighbourhood and was suspected of assault in the case.

The Danish Prison Service (Kriminalforsorgen) is responsible for ensuring hospitalized prisoners remain in detention.

“My focus is solely on investigating this serious case in which I think seriously callous behaviour has been shown towards shocked (hospital) staff and other persons,” Kliver said.

Police advised members of the public not to approach the suspect but to call police contact line 114 if they may have potential information as to his whereabouts.

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Denmark announces plan to cut number of prison escapes

Authorities in Denmark are to provide proposals for a new plan of action aimed at cutting down the number of prison breakouts.

Denmark announces plan to cut number of prison escapes
File photo: Johan Gadegaard/Midtjyske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix

An action plan from relevant authorities should help to ensure that far fewer escapes from correctional facilities take place in Denmark in the future, Minister of Justice Nick Hækkerup said to press on Wednesday.

Hækkerup is to ask the National Police, the Danish Prison Service (Kriminalforsorgen) and the public prosecution authority to provide recommendations and produce the plan in collaboration with health authorities.

“There have been too many prison escapes. Every time there is an escape from one of our prisons, detention centres or, as last week, from a psychiatric ward, it is a serious matter,” the minister said.

“It is totally unacceptable that we are seeing time and again that prisoners or detainees have succeeded in escaping,” he continued.

“It goes without saying that when a person is remanded in custody or serving a sentence, that person must be incarcerated, and unable to avoid this.

“It is part of our legal system that you have to take your punishment and serve it,” he said.

Last week, a prisoner escaped from a psychiatric ward in Slagelse in dramatic circumstances. Shots were fired at the floor during the escape operation, and hospital staff were threatened.

The episode is far from unique in Denmark. A 2018 Council of Europe report placed Denmark at number seven among its 47 member countries in relation to the number of escapes from open and closed prisons.

Denmark is in third place if the number of escapes from closed prisons only is considered.

“Every escape is one escape too many. But on the other hand, I think it would be too ambitious to think that we can get to a stage where there are no escapes at all,” Hækkerup said of his aims for the plan of action.

“But I am prepared to look at all options once the relevant authorities have provided their descriptions of the problem and what initiatives are needed. Because we need to stop prison breakouts,” Hækkerup said.

READ ALSO: Denmark makes two arrests over prisoner breakout at hospital