No bank robberies happened in Denmark in 2022

For the first time in recorded history, Denmark went a full year without a bank robbery in 2022.

No bank robberies happened in Denmark in 2022
Police attend the aftermath of a bank robbery in Copenhagen in 2005. The number of bank robberies fell to zero in 2022. Photo: Bjarke Ørsted/Ritzau Scanpix

Not a single bank robbery was committed in Denmark last year. 

The national interest organisation for banks, Finans Danmark, released the positive crime statistic on Tuesday and trade union for the financial sector Finansforbundet was quick to praise it.

“It’s nothing less than fantastic. Because it’s a very extreme burden on staff every time it happens,” the union’s deputy chairperson Steen Lund Olsen said in a statement.

The number of bank robberies in Denmark has generally been low in recent years, with an average number under 10 each year since 2017.

Those numbers contrast to the rate of bank robberies at the turn of the century, when 221 bank robberies – almost 2 every 3 days – were committed in 2000.

One explanation for the trend is the move from banks away from having cash vaults on site. According to Finansforbundet, Denmark’s largest lender Danske Bank has just one vault in Copenhagen and one in Aarhus.

Several other factors can also be credited for the low number of bank robberies in recent years, said Michael Busk-Jepsen, director of digitisation at Finans Danmark.

“This is a coordinated effort that has taken place over many years, including camera surveillance, alarm systems, stronger cooperation with the police and limitation of cash holdings,” he said.

Some 12 industrial injury cases are currently ongoing related to PTSD from bank robberies between 2002 and 2018, according to the Finansforbundet union.

Although bank staff in Denmark did not suffer a robbery last year, they are still subjected to other hazards at work including threats and violence. These are increasingly in digital form.

“There are still staff – particularly in customer-facing roles – who receive abuse via email or telephone. Staff who are threatened in both virtual and physical meetings. That is unacceptable,” Olsen said.

READ ALSO: Thieves take advantage of holiday absences in Denmark

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Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code

Denmark is to give international war crimes a specific paragraph in its criminal code, ending its position as one of the last European countries not to have specific laws on war crimes.

Denmark to add war crimes to criminal code

The government confirmed on Tuesday that it supports a motion by the opposition Socialist People’s Party (SF) to introduce a war crimes paragraph.

“I think it’s important to say first and foremost that war crimes are already illegal in Danish criminal law,” Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard told news wire Ritzau.

“It is not written in as specific clauses in the criminal law, but all offences that are war crimes are criminal,” he said.

“But with all that said, I think that SF has an important point in saying that the time has now come for us to introduce an independent criminalisation of war crimes. I think that would send out an important message to the world, and especially to victims,” he said.

“I will therefore, when the motion is discussed tomorrow [Tuesday, ed.] say, that the government backs criminalising war crimes independently under Danish law,” he said.

Hummelgaard plans to initiate a committee to look into how laws against war crimes can be written and added to the criminal code.

The committee will also consider whether sentences for war crimes should be higher than existing sentences given from crimes such as murder and torture.