From Iceland — Police Respond To Unnecessary Force Allegations

Police Respond To Unnecessary Force Allegations

Published August 23, 2019

After police criticism for using unnecessary force at summer festivities, chairman of the Reykjavik City Human Rights Council, Dóra Björt Guðjónsdóttir, requested a meeting today police chief Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir.

“There have been a number of issues that have arisen recently that have raised questions about police action, and it is very important to have transparency in police work to ensure confidence in police,” Dóra told Rúv.

The events in question include drug-searches at the Secret Solstice music festival without the necessary court order. This has been an ongoing issue, but specifically this year, civil rights organisation Snarróttin reported that people were denied their right to refuse the search, and were given the option to either be searched or arrested.

The other event includes the controversial arrest at pride. A participant was allegedly mistaken to be a protester, and arrested when she did not turn off her phone. There was no necessary court order to confiscate the phone.

Police Chief Sigríður Björk, who generally reviews police procedures at larger events, weighs in on this particular arrest stating, all the data and recordings of the case have been submitted accordingly to a committee that will review it as an independent party.

According to Dóra, situations such as these have to be carefully considered.” The police are the member of our community who have the exclusive right to exercise authority, and it is therefore very important that she [Sigríður, the chief of police] is aware of this authority which she has from the public and is well aware of these powers. ”

Sigríður Björk says in regards to complaints about police work that it is a good thing their work is being looked over by independent parties as it is “providing more security for citizens.”

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