Police Cases Become Void Due to Cutbacks Skip to content

Police Cases Become Void Due to Cutbacks

Commissioner of the Icelandic Police Valtýr Sigurdsson said cutbacks at the country’s police departments cause dozens of cases to become void before they’re investigated.


Icelandic police officers observe a demonstration. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Rulings in criminal cases have decreased significantly in the past years and fewer cases are sent from the police departments to the state prosecutor’s office, he told Fréttabladid.

At other departments, all cases are investigated but at a slower rate. “It is of course a serious matter. The cutbacks are bound to impact policing in general but it also impacts the investigation of cases,” Sigurdsson said.

In some instances criminals escape punishment because their violations become void partially or completely because of delays in investigation and prosecution.

Sigurdsson wrote a letter to the Ministry of Justice to warn against this development. “The rate of case treatment is one of the basic rules of the justice system,” the letter reads.

Sigurdsson points out that criminals have the right for their cases to be treated within a set timeframe bound both by the constitution and the European human rights treaty.

He stated that even before the banking collapse, policing was not funded properly. “We are in a terrible position compared to the other Nordic countries.”

Sigrídur Elsa Kjartansdóttir, acting assistant state prosecutor, said the cases that become void without investigation are only smaller cases. Police chiefs prioritize according to the seriousness of the crime, she stated.

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