From Iceland — Do Cops Need Guns?

Do Cops Need Guns?

Published December 28, 2011

While police are starting to express the desire to have guns on the job, the Minister of the Interior believes there is still no need for them.
Iceland is known for having largely unarmed cops. Even pepper spray is a relatively recent addition to the police arsenal, with firearms reserved for the seldom-used Viking Squad; Iceland’s answer to SWAT. However, cops have expressed the desire to carry tasers, which has been repeatedly turned down by the government.
Police officer G. Jökull Gíslason, writing for the National Association of Police Officers’ magazine, argues that due to more gun-related crime in Iceland, police are sometimes arriving at crime scenes unprepared for what awaits them, and therefore should be allowed to have guns themselves. Vísir reports that he amends his desire for police to have firearms by bringing up a potential “middle way” used in Britain and Norway, i.e., that their guns would be in locked boxes in their squad cars, rather than carried in holsters on their hips.
However, Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson disagrees, saying that public opinion favours unarmed police officers, and the the Viking Squad is more than enough for dealing with situations involving gunplay.

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