Police Director Benedicte Bjørnland says that young people must not draw parallels between Norwegian and American police.
“They are completely different countries with different cultures and different practices with regards to the role of the police”, says the police director to NRK.
Several police officers believe they have lost trust and authority among young people in the last six months, especially after the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the USA. The police director believes this is a disturbing development.
“We are portrayed as a very violent agency that is not on par with the inhabitants, and which discriminates against certain ethnic groups and age groups”, says operations unit manager Morten Ørn in the West police district.
The backdrop is this weekend’s SIAN celebration in Bergen, where the police used tear gas against counter-protesters, something they have been criticized for in retrospect.
US expert Hilmar Mjelde also draws lines between Americanisation of the public debate in Norway and loss of confidence in the police.
“There is a war-like debate on every side. A simplified black-and-white understanding of the world has become more common”, says the Norce researcher.
He says he has seen American-inspired terms such as “fake news” and “fuck the police” from the radical right and the radical left in Norway for several years. Both sides draw expressions and rhetoric from the United States without taking into account how it fits into Norwegian society.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today