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Photo: Golli.

Police Officers Seek Anonymity Amid Rising Threats

Officers of the law are advocating for increased anonymity in police reports due to rising threats, with incidents like car vandalism and a notable arson attack on an officer’s vehicle. Fjölnir Sæmundsson, Chair of Iceland’s National Police Union, emphasised the need for regulatory changes in an interview with Vísir.

Unparalleled arson attack

Police officers are pushing for anonymity in police reports due to escalating threats during arrests and interrogations. Incidents include tire punctures, car vandalism, and a recent arson attack on a policewoman’s vehicle outside her residence.

The latter incident, being investigated by the district prosecutor as an offence against the government, could lead to a six-year prison term.

In an interview with Vísir, Fjölnir Sæmundsson, Chair of Iceland’s National Police Union (i.e. Landssamband Lögreglumanna), described the case as nearly unparalleled, highlighting the growing intensity of police duties. According to Vísir, the identity of the suspect in the arson case was “quite obvious.”

Threats to officers’ families

“Over the years, there have been several incidents where tyres have been punctured or cars have been scratched or keyed. Then there is the threat: ‘I know where your children go to school or where your wife works.’ People driving conspicuously past a police officer’s house is not unheard of,” Fjölnir told Vísir.

“There is a great demand for anonymity,” Fjölnir continued. “In police reports, officers are identified by name during interrogations, yet in court, we’re referred to solely by our police number. This inconsistency is concerning, especially when reports bearing our full names are accessible,” Fjölnir stated, pointing out that in order for anonymity in police reports to be guaranteed, regulations needed to be amended. Such an amendment was especially urgent as it related to officers investigating organised-crime cases.

Proactive investigative measures

“We’re well aware that organised groups, with ties to countries like Spain, Brazil, and the Baltic nations, are behind a significant proportion of drug imports to Iceland.” Consequently, officers are now prioritising the proactive investigative measures, which, as noted by Vísir, were outlined in a controversial police bill that failed to pass during the last parliamentary session.

“We aim to gather more intelligence to track individuals entering the country and their activities abroad. This will enhance our collaboration and information exchange with international police agencies,” Fjölnir concluded by saying.

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