Citation(s) from the Gun Policy News media archive

Norway Gave Its Cops Guns. After 1 Year, It's Taking Them Away. What Did It Learn?

Washington Post

5 February 2016

Relevant contents

Norway has long been one of the relatively few European countries where police officers do not routinely carry firearms. In November 2014, this changed: The country's police officers were ordered to be armed at all times. However, that order ran out this Wednesday, and Norwegian police officers have now disarmed.

So, after roughly 14 months, Norway's experiment with permanently armed police officers is over – for the time being, at least.

What lies behind this experiment? According to Jørn Schjelderup, deputy chief of police at the Norwegian Police Directorate, the answer is simple: Norway's police had armed themselves only after a threat assessment in October 2014 found that a terrorist attack was "likely to happen" in Norway within the next 12 months. In October 2015, a new assessment suggested that the threat was no longer likely, but after the attacks in Paris in November a decision was made to temporarily extend the arming of police.

Now, with a lowered threat assessment, the police are returning to their normal policy, which involves keeping weapons locked inside their vehicles.

Historically, the use of firearms by police officers in Norway has been remarkably rare. Officers began keeping weapons locked in their vehicles only in 2013, Schjelderup said, though some departments have kept weapons in their vehicles since around 2000 or so. The chart below shows the number of times police officers actually fired shots between 2002 and 2014. It peaks at six shots in 2010. [See online version for chart]

And this chart shows the number of actual deaths from police shootings in the same period. Yes, it's a grand total of two… [See online version for chart]

Schjelderup credited the high levels of training the Norwegian police officers are given for their restraint when using the weapons. Every officer in service must undertake weapons training and tactical training involving firearms for at least 48 hours every year. For the Police Response Units (the Norwegian equivalent of SWAT teams), the expectations are higher: 103 hours a year…

ID: N575

As many publishers change their links and archive their pages, the full-text version of this article may no longer be available from the original link. In this case, please go to the publisher's web site or use a search engine.