The former head of the capital area police’s sexual assault division argues that the police do not need more guns; its Viking Squad needs better support.
RÚV reports that Björgvin Björgvinsson, the former Chief of the Sexual Assault Division for the Metropolitan Police, contends that it would be “pointless” to more heavily arm the average police officer, contrary to the wishes of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. Instead, he argues that the Viking Squad – Iceland’s version of the SWAT – needs to be better trained to deal with high-level threats.
“I think [the squad] needs the chance to develop itself, to become better,” he told reporters. “People need to realise that it needs to deal with problems. It’s meaningless to joke about this. But it’s pointless to arm up the average police force further.”
Björgvin agrees with the Commissioner that threats in neighbouring countries could make their way here, but contends that the solution is rather to “have a good special forces team” rather than give all of the police more guns.
As reported, he National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has put in a formal request with the Interior Ministry to purchase 313 new firearms, comprising 163 handguns and 150 machine guns.
In defending the need for the purchase, the police cite an Interior Ministry report from 2012 that contended the police were limited in their power to deal with terrorism, weapons crimes, and other major offences.
The purchase request is reminiscent of the previous attempt by the police to arm up more. In that case, police also argued they needed the weapons, in part, to fight the Islamic State. They also contended a cache of firearms was a “gift” from Norway, but Norway disagreed, contending the weapons were bought.
The revelation sparked criticism and opposition from the general public, culminating in the Icelandic Coast Guard announcing that they would return the guns.
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