Denmark moves to clamp down on gang crime with new measures

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Denmark moves to clamp down on gang crime with new measures
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and other senior ministers presented a new plan to tackle gang crime. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government has presented a proposal including 39 measures it says will fight gang crime.


Proposals include harsher punishments for knife violence and economic crime. They also entail extended police power to use informers and phone tapping.

The proposals were presented at a briefing at the Copenhagen Police Headquarters (Politigården) on Tuesday.

It is the latest in the line of repeated attempts by governments to clamp down on gangs over the last decade, which have seen over 80 different initiatives introduced through three earlier major reforms.

“Regardless of where you live in Denmark, or where you are, you should be able to feel safe and secure,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at the briefing.


“That’s why we need further measures. We are all very pleased with the [previous] gang measures that were adopted but we need package number four,” she said.

The announcement comes as police in Copenhagen grapple with gang violence centred around the illicit drugs trade in Christiania, where a 30-year-old gang member was shot dead last month.


Christiania’s residents association stated after the most recent shooting that they want Pusher Street to be closed down for good and Copenhagen Police on Monday announced bans on gatherings at three locations across the city linked to the Hells Angels biker gang.

That came after an explosion at a Hells Angels clubhouse on Saturday that police said was a sign of escalating violence between gangs. The ban on the clubhouses is intended to remove them as targets for rival groups, police said.

Police have also put stop-and-search zones in place in parts of the city in an effort to stop the gang violence, which has been reported revolve around the Loyal to Familia gang and the Hells Angels biker group.

Violence between gangs “exposes normal people to danger”, Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard said.

Justice Ministry figures state that 1,322 people are known to members of various organised crime gangs or groups in Denmark.

The draft 2024 budget sets aside 100 million kroner next year and 150 million kroner from 2025-2027 for anti-gang measures.

A second part of the proposal outlining a reform of criminal punishment for gang members will be presented by the government at a later date, Frederiksen also said.

The Prime Minister pointed the finger directly at people from immigrant backgrounds for their involvement with gangs, while acknowledging that the measures were also aimed at biker gangs like Hells Angels.

“If you look at the trend there has been in the criminality scene in Denmark – and it’s been this way for many years – it’s young men from minority ethnic backgrounds, particularly from certain countries, who are heavily over-represented in the wrong statistics,” she said.

She also said she disagreed with criticism from researchers that harsher punishments for gang crime are ineffective.

“Of course it makes a difference when a certain proportion of the hardest criminals are in prison instead of on the streets. That’s just common sense,” she said.


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