From Iceland — Bill Expanding Police Powers Introduced

Bill Expanding Police Powers Introduced

Published February 15, 2011

A bill that would give police greater powers to investigate people – even those not believed to have committed any crime – has been introduced to parliament.
According to Vísir, the bill, introduced by Progressive Siv Friðleifsdóttir and supported by some members of her party as well as those of the Independence Party and the Social Democrats, is purported to be similar in spirit to laws in other Nordic countries.
The bill, if made into law, would give police the right to investigate anyone, at any time, even if they were not suspected of having committed a crime or planning to.
The rationale behind the idea – known as “proactive investigation” – as written in the text of the bill, is that it would assist police in “the fight against organised crime, both foreign and domestic, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and terrorist threats”.
Police would also have greater powers outside of Iceland’s borders, although presumably within the boundaries that European law allows.
The rationale for the bill uses ominous language to stress its contended importance, saying in part, “It is unacceptable to live in a dream world about this matter and not take action before it is too late, with serious consequences to the public good.”
A similar bill was introduced last August but did not pass, even though it was submitted by the Minister of Justice at the time.

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