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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.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen police to ban people with criminal records from nightlife areas

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POLICE

Copenhagen police to ban people with criminal records from nightlife areas

Copenhagen Police have announced that it will implement four ‘nightlife’ zones from which people with certain types of criminal records can be banned.

Copenhagen police to ban people with criminal records from nightlife areas
A file photo of Gothersgade in Copenhagen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The new zones will make use of a change in the law, which was passed by parliament in July, allowing police to enforce the restriction. Copenhagen is the first police district in the country to make use of the new law.

Four areas near the central part of the city will be considered ‘nightlife zones’. People with previous convictions for certain types of crime can be banned from the zones for up to two years.

The zones take effect on September 14th for an initial two-year period, meaning they will be in place until at least September 13th, 2023, Copenhagen Police said in a statement.

All four zones are located close to the central part of the city in either the Inner City or Vesterbro neighbourhoods. They include the streets Gothersgade, Vestergade and Vesterbrogade along with the popular Kødbyen (The Meatpacking District), which has a high concentration of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Persons who breach the ban can face a fine of 10,000 kroner for a first offence and up to 30 days in prison for repeat offences.

Police said they hoped to work together with local businesses to enforce the zones.

“The law enables exchange of information about persons with nightlife bans with bar owners. But we are currently waiting for more detailed information on how this will take place in practice,” Copenhagen Police director Anne Tønnes said.

Enforcement of the new rules will meanwhile rely on police patrols in the relevant locations, as well as police response to reports from the public.

The zonal bans can be applied to people with previous convictions including for certain crimes against the person or weapons offences.

Tønnes said that the zones have “no practical significance” for “completely normal, law-abiding citizens” other than their intended effect of “creating a more secure nightlife environment for everyone”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Denmark in September 2021

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