Minister of Justice’s Police Bill Approved by Cabinet Skip to content

Minister of Justice’s Police Bill Approved by Cabinet

By Ragnar Tómas

Jón Gunnarsson Minister of Justice
Photo: Golli. Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson.

A new bill on policing, sponsored by the Minister of Justice, was approved by the coalition government this morning, Vísir reports. The Minister expects the bill – which will, among other things, authorise proactive investigations – to be enacted shortly after the new year.

Proactive investigations to be authorised

A day after Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson announced his intention to “wage war on organised crime in Iceland,” his proposed amendment to the Police Act has been approved by the cabinet. The bill, which was been in the works by the Ministry of Justice for some time, was submitted for public review and commentary in March of this year.

Speaking to Vísir, Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson stated that he expected the bill to be distributed among the parliamentary parties tomorrow. The purpose of the bill is to grant greater authority to the police in its effort to deter crime, especially in relation to organised crime and national security. “We’re trying to move closer to those police protocols that have been adopted by our neighbouring countries,” Jón stated.

The bill will authorise proactive investigations and enshrine in law regulations concerning the use of weapons among police.

“We refer to it as crime deterrence, allowing the police to begin investigating individuals who although not suspected of committing a crime are believed to be associated with organised crime, or other operations that pose a risk to national safety. Such investigations would, however, always be launched by the Chief of Police or other senior officers. We will also establish an office of internal affairs, which will always be notified in the event of such investigations. A supervisory committee will also be notified as early as possible.”

Jón hopes that the bill will be enacted quickly.

“I’m hoping that the bill passes through parliamentary review tomorrow and that I’ll be able to address Parliament next week. Then it’s, of course, up to the parliamentary committee to discuss. I know that the general committee has been quite busy recently, so we’ll have to see how quickly things progress. I think it’s realistic to hope that the bill would be enacted shortly after the new year, that is, if it’s not been enacted before Christmas.”

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