Mag
Articles
What! The Police Are On FB, Twitter And Instagram, Too?

What! The Police Are On FB, Twitter And Instagram, Too?

Published September 4, 2012

It’s 11:30 PM on a Sunday night and the police have just replied to a question posted on their wall one hour earlier. “My girlfriend and I are in France and I bought her pepper spray so that she could protect herself. Why is it illegal for women in Iceland to carry pepper spray in their purse as a precautionary measure?” Snorri Arnar Sveinsson asked.

“Greetings Snorri,” the police responded. “It’s not really our place to elaborate on this as the police don’t make the laws. Pepper spray, however, has likely been looked at like other weapons, which could become dangerous in the wrong hands. As a police officer, I don’t recommend that anybody carry such spray without proper training. The use of pepper spray can be tricky and it could easily cause greater harm to the one using it if used incorrectly.”

The Reykjavík Metropolitan police don’t carry guns, but they are armed with pepper spray, extendable batons and iPads. Yes, iPads. The police bought eleven of them last summer at 85,000 ISK a pop so that they could, as Chief of Police Stefán Eiríksson told DV at the time, better update their Facebook page, which they created in 2010.

So savvy are the police when it comes to social media that they are one of the finalists in the international ConnectedCOPS Awards, which will be decided this September. “With 22,000 followers on Facebook in a country of 320,000, it’s one of the largest followings, per capita in the world,” ConnectedCOPS says in their profile of the Reykjavík Metropolitan police.

WHAT ARE THEY DOING ON FACEBOOK?

In addition to fielding questions such as the one posed by Snorri, the police post all kinds of status updates, ranging from the helpful to the arguably useless, although somewhat entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy watching a poorly lit 14-second video of the police enjoying fireworks on Culture Night?

Sometimes they post simultaneously entertaining and helpful statues. For instance, they posted that a black iPod Nano had found its way to the police station in Hafnarfjörður last week: “…its owner is called Edda. Edda can call 444-1140. We don’t know where and when it was found though.”

In another, yet stranger, lost and found case, they posted: “A large number of stuffed animals, which were all found in the same place, are at the Reykjavík police station lost and found…Ownership claims must be verified.” This was accompanied by a photo of a bunch of pink stuffed animal rabbits, only highlighting the bizarre.

Other times they post stats: “Seventeen drivers were ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in the capital area over the weekend. Twelve were stopped in Reykjavík, three in Kópavogur and one in Garðabær and Hafnarfjörður. Five were ticketed on Saturday, eleven on Sunday and one on Monday. It was 13 men between 12–65 and four women, 18–35 years. Two of these drivers had already before lost their driver’s license and one has never had a license.”

They also post statuses about how their day went and about what kinds of things they had to deal with the previous night: “The night was on the quiet side—there was one convenient store break-in, but the individual was arrested shortly after. Said individual spent the night with us. Later a driver was pulled over, suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.”

And these posts may involve a degree of shaming: “A forty-year old man was pulled over at Reykjanesbraut in Hafnarfjörður around dinnertime yesterday and his obliviousness and that of the two adult passengers in the car was unbelievable,” read a post about adults driving their kids around without seatbelts and car seats.

In addition to Facebook, the police are on Twitter, YouTube and EVEN Instagram, too. “We are trying out the photo app Instagram, which is used on smartphones,” they wrote on Facebook earlier this month. “You can see our photos under the tab higher up on this page marked Instagram LRH. Instagram users can find us under the username: Logreglan [the Icelandic word for “police”]. Do check us out and tell us what you think.”

OKAY, SERIOUSLY, WHAT ARE THEY DOING ON INSTAGRAM? #LRH

We checked them out. And no, they aren’t posting bloody crime scene photos masked with Lo-fi filters, but then we only have an average of two murders per year in Iceland.

Their 24 photos to date are mostly of their people or vehicles on duty. One of the first ones was a photo of their offices, comically captioned “Facebook hq.”

But the photos get more exciting, especially when the narcs are involved (Icelandic: “fíknó”). For instance, there is a photomontage showing a fish, a bong, a plant (which may or may not be a marijuana plant) and a traffic ticket, accompanied with the caption, “A legal pet, a plant and a parking ticket. Fantastic Tuesday!!! #logreglan #fikno.”

In a similar photomontage, there’s a donut burger, some bullets, a large marijuana plant and a snake—three of which are illegal in Iceland. The caption reads: “A great Friday shift. Donut burgers and house searches, basic! #fikno,”

It seems people are mostly interested in food, though. When asked where one finds a burger like that, the police replied: “This awesomeness can be found at Roadhouse on Snorrabraut. It doesn’t come with the others…” revealing a bit of police humour.

And again they share their dining tips: On a photo of cars parked near the Reykjavík’s famous hot dog stand, which is accompanied by the caption “I am an undercover cop, nobody sees me. HurrDurrRhh #logreglan #leynilogga #fikno” someone asked “Were you just eating a hot dog?” The police replied: “No, a bacon sub with sautéed mushrooms from Nonni, too too good.”

SO WHAT ARE THEY REALLY DOING?

“The social media implementation is a small step towards building digital policing in Iceland, the end product being a fully digital police station with additional presence in Twitter (the Chief is currently using Twitter) and YouTube,” ConnectedCOPS goes on to say in its profile of the Reykjavík Municipality Police.

“The RMP is finding that social media is both a cost-effective way of community policing but is also turning out to be one of the key points into building trust between the police and the public.”

But you tell me, are the police having too much fun, or what?



Mag
Articles
Pagan Christmas

Pagan Christmas

by

The idea of throwing a big celebration in honour of the birth of Christ is a relatively recent idea. Nobody knows exactly when he was born; guesses range from 7 to 2 BC and the date is a mystery. His date of birth was once estimated to be January 6, in an attempt to beat a competing holiday (the celebration of the virgin birth of Aion, the Hellenistic deity of eternity). In the process they borrowed the symbolism of the stables. Christianity is in the business of mergers and acquisitions. The date was later changed to December 25, partly because

Mag
Articles
The Encyclopaedia of Icelandic Holidays

The Encyclopaedia of Icelandic Holidays

by

Aðfangadagur (Ath-founga-dager) December 24, Aðfangadagur, is the day Icelanders celebrate Christmas (as opposed to December 25 in most countries). The first half of the day usually goes towards finishing off all of the last-minute preparations, making food, wrapping presents, bathing and putting on nice clothes. Children are often occupied by the television set, as most stations broadcast a non-stop programme of cartoons throughout the day. Six o’ clock marks the official start of Christmas in Iceland, marked by state radio broadcasting the traditional “ringing of the church bells.” This is when most households sit down to enjoy a pleasant holiday

Mag
Articles
WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Finally, An Icelandic Front

WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Finally, An Icelandic Front

by

Anyone who’s followed American politics, or switched to Fox News over the holidays, knows that a full blown war is raging at this very moment: The War On Christmas. On the battlefield, the godless forces of Politically Correct liberals—who want to take Christ out of Christmas and thus destroy the very fabric of American culture—fight the patriotic and pious people over at Fox. Of course nobody residing the reality-based community has ever encountered this “War on Christmas.” It exists only in the fevered imagination of loudmouths like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, who use it to fill airtime, drum up

Mag
Articles
Wanted: The Icelandic Christmas Mood

Wanted: The Icelandic Christmas Mood

by

When they stop stacking the Rjómi (heavy cream) neatly on the supermarket shelves, you know Christmas is just around the corner. The Rjómi hasn’t disappeared though. Entering the walk-in cooler (don’t forget your jacket!) you’ll see a huge container spilling over with cartons and cartons of Rjómi. Frankly, stacking it is a waste of time; soon you’ll notice the mountain getting smaller as every single person takes at least one, maybe two or maybe five. Our consumer needs are this predictable before, during and after Christmas, because almost every single Icelandic household has the exact same family traditions. This uniformity

Mag
Articles
The Sinister Christmas Clan Of Iceland

The Sinister Christmas Clan Of Iceland

by and

In Iceland, there is no Santa Claus. Instead, there are thirteen “jólasveinar,” which can be translated to “Yule Lads.” They live in mountains and hike to town, one by one, for the thirteen days leading up to Christmas Eve. Their mother is Grýla, a troll known for eating babies and beating up her husband. In previous centuries, the Yule Lads were a bunch of scraggly, merry—sometimes thieving—pranksters that would get up to all sorts of shenanigans on their visits to civilization. In recent decades, the lads have mostly abandoned their mischievous ways—today’s youth mostly knows them as a group of

Mag
Articles
Preparing for Global Leadership

Preparing for Global Leadership

by

In 2012, Þóra Arnórsdóttir, a respected journalist for Icelandic State TV, RÚV, launched a formidable campaign for the presidency of Iceland, challenging the four-term incumbent Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Although many recession-weary Icelanders were eager to see a change of executive power at the time, Þóra’s entrance into presidential politics drew surprisingly intense public scrutiny for an unusual reason: she was eight months pregnant with her third child when she formally entered the race. Her bold decision to campaign while pregnant generated a slew of laudatory and skeptical headlines in Iceland and across the globe, for many media outlets questioned the

Show Me More!