A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.
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
<?php the_title(); ?>

Holuhraun Continues To Erupt

by

It’s been almost a month since the Holuhraun eruption started, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of it stopping soon. Meanwhile, the Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside, which means that it must still be feeding magma to the Holuhraun eruptive fissure. The surrounding area is still closed to the public (sorry!) due to high concentrations of poison gas and the continuing risk of flooding. In the last two weeks there has been quite a bit of air pollution (mostly sulphur dioxide, the one that smells like rotten eggs) due to gas emanating from the eruptive fissure. Daily forecasts

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Which Way 
The Wind Blows

by

“This is what we call a ‘washing board,’” our guide Kormákur Hermannsson says, his voice barely intelligible as we jostle violently on the bumpy mountain road. Indeed it feels like we are driving over one. It’s been nine hours since we set off from Reykjavík to see the Holuhraun eruption in Iceland’s remote highlands, and we are shaking. To our right, the sun is a blinding red ball peeking out from behind the clouds. Mount Herðubreið looms over an orange haze that blankets the horizon. We are still a few hours away from the eruption, yet its presence is unmistakeable.

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

One Man’s Miracle

by

Möðrudalur, one of the most isolated farms in Iceland, lies under the icy nipple of Mt. Herðubreið in the northeastern part of the island.  In 1919, a man named Jón Stefánsson bought Möðrudalur from one of his brothers.  Jón was a saddler and harness maker by trade. He was also an accomplished musician. At night he’d sit at his organ, and the echo of Bach sonatas, which he’d play backwards note for note, would sweep over Möðrudalur’s lava and empty sands. Jón was, to put it mildly, an eccentric. He’d wake up at 4am and get the farm labourers working

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Mexicans: They’re Everywhere!

by

When I began my search for Mexicans in Iceland, I was prepared to hear fantastic stories about cultural polarity. And that’s exactly what I got. From tiny Vopnafjörður we travel to the centre of it all, Reykjavík. This is the story of Rodrigo Aparicio, who found a second home in Iceland. What does “exotic” mean? For many, Mexico—with its countless ecosystems, dialects, blue shores, sandy beaches, archaeological sites and colonial cities—fits the bill perfectly. To Mexicans, “exotic” is perhaps the type of place where you’ll experience midnight sun and the Northern Lights, where folks aren’t coy about the human body,

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Höfði-San: Shrimp Salesman Built A Replica Of A Reykjavík Landmark

by

Iceland became the focus of world attention when US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Reykjavík in October 1986 to discuss nuclear disarmament. The powerful couple met at Höfði, a small villa on Borgartún, the street where the ghosts of the fallen Icelandic banking system roam today. Many of the banks had headquarters and offices on this street, which lies only a kilometre or so away from the city centre. Before the international financial crisis obliterated the overweight Icelandic finance industry, the bankers wanted to build huge towers and other mega structures in the area, which

Mag
Articles
<?php the_title(); ?>

Independence Is Not A Disaster:

by

After decades of discussion on the political and economic details of a theoretically independent Scotland, the Scottish citizens finally face the vote that could bring this country into reality. The vote on the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?” will take place this Thursday, September 18, 2014. “We have a shared interest” As part of the discourse on their potential independence, Scottish political leaders are looking to the Nordic countries as models in developing their social and economic policies. In addition to potentially modelling welfare and taxation on Nordic systems, other involvement ranges from applying

Show Me More!