Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson has announced his intention to wage war against organised crime following the knife attacks in a Reykjavík club last week, which have been taken as signs of gang warfare.
On Thursday night, November 17, a group of masked and armed men stormed a Reykjavík nightclub, stabbing three men, who were since transported to the ER.
Of the nearly 30 men involved in the attack, already some 14 have been apprehended by the police. Two are suspected to have fled the country, with the police now searching for the remaining suspects.
According to Minister Jón Gunnarsson, the incident reveals a problem with organised crime in a nation generally upheld for its security.
In response to the minister’s call for a “war on crime,” efforts are now being prepared to attack the root causes of organised criminality in Iceland.
The Minister has also expressed his desire to strengthen police powers, with what Jón Gunnarsson calls “preventative warrants,” allowing for “proactive investigation.” Such measures have been controversial in Alþingi, but Jón Gunnarsson has stated that his proposals would be “harmless.”
Such warrants would allow police to monitor individuals associated with known criminals and criminal activity, without themselves being found guilty of any crime.
The proposed measures would also add tasers to the police arsenal. Currently, Icelandic police officers only carry batons and pepper spray in the field.
In a statement to Vísir, the Minister said: “The steps we take may prove to be controversial, I have no doubt about that. Both of these new authorisations, for preventative warrants and weapons for the police, may be controversial, but we have to do it.”