The number of police officers in the Reykjavik area is around 300, which means that each one serves about 650 inhabitants. In Oslo, Norway’s capital, around 310 citizens are per each officer and in Copenhagen just over 300. In the past, a higher number of police officers served the capital alone, but now they serve neighboring towns. And now it looks as if they will become even fewer.
Reykjavik Police. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
In 2007, the Reykjavik Police Department handed in budget proposals for the next five years. They presumed an increase in contributions, added service and reinforcement in certain fields, given the increased population and work load.
However, the contributions did not increase last year, and this year the department must make further cutbacks of 57,1 million ISK.
The Ministry of Justice also made a 10% optimization, like in other fields within the administration. According to Snorri Magnússon, head of The Police Officers’ National Organization, this means a cut of 320 million ISK.
“At the same time Althingi is passing a bill which entails the increased number of artist grants from 1,200 to 1,600 over a three year period” he told mbl.is.
Magnússon pointed out that the national budget department statement regarding the artist grants states that these increased expenses were not expected, and due to the enormous state treasury deficit those expenses must be financed with loans.
Stefán Eiríksson, head of The Reykjavik Police Department was not able to answer how his office will meet the cuts but said that it did not “take a genius to figure out that it will be both difficult and painful.”
The Reykjavik Police Department does not only have to deal with cuts due to the recession. It also has to cover all direct expenses caused by the protests last winter. A cost of about 40 million ISK.