The Progress Party (FRP) has joined the governing parties in nine measures to strengthen the fight against gang crime and juvenile crime in Norway.
“This will be a very strong package. Next year will be a bad year for gangs,” the Conservative Party’s Justice Policy Spokesman Peter Frølich told news bureau NTB.
The Conservatives (Høyre), the Liberals (Venstre), and the Christian Democrats (KRF) have now negotiated an agreement with the Progress Party (FRP) on a package of nine measures that will strengthen efforts against juvenile and gang crime in Norway.
The parties are also putting NOK 60 million on the table for the implementation of the measures.
The agreement comes in response to a representative proposal that the Progress Party put forward in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) in May.
The Progress Party’s Justice Policy Spokesman Per-Willy Amundsen believes he has managed to get the other three parties involved much more than he could have expected if the party was still in government.
“There is no doubt that this is a significant breakthrough,” he said.
Will “investigate” stronger punishment
In the original proposal, the Progress Party advocated changing the law so that the threshold for the imprisonment of criminals under the age of 18 is lowered. But the governing parties did not agree.
In the agreement that is now in place, the four parties are instead in favor of “investigating” a change, which means that, in special cases, increased punishment is allowed for criminal repeat offenders under 18 years of age.
Amundsen believes this was a long way off for the governing parties. But he got nowhere with the left-wing parties.
“At least now we can investigate it. This is nothing to celebrate. But it’s far more than we would have received from the other side.”
An extra round
Frølich believes it is about using a language that the “bad guys” understand.
“We know that there are some who do not respond at all to juvenile punishment. It’s terribly tragic. But it actually also means that we have to take off the kid-gloves,” he said.
But the fact that the measure is only looked into also means that there could be further developments.
“Even though the points look strict, we have given ourselves an extra round. We will return again,” Geir Sigbjørn Toskedal, Justice Policy Spokesman for the KRF, said.
Toskedal believes that a balanced package is being presented.
“When you have negotiations with four parties that have a slightly different view on criminal policy and measures, the KRF wants to be more concerned with how to get these young people on the right track. But at the same time, we also realize that there are challenges in a few environments. Then, we must have tools that work.”
At the same time, both the KRF and the Liberal Party emphasize how important preventive work is in the effort to stop gang crime.
“We must find a balance between hard and soft measures to reduce juvenile delinquency. The most important thing is the work we do in schools and the local communities,” the Liberal Party’s Justice Policy Spokesperson Solveig Schytz said.
“But we must also give the police good tools on top of that,” Schytz noted.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today