A new bill that would increase Icelandic police’s powers to monitor people who are not suspected of crimes is concerning to the Chairman of the Icelandic Bar Association. The Association submitted plenty of comments on the Justice Minister’s amendment bill to the Police Act, RÚV reports.
Decisions on surveillance would rest solely in police hands
A new bill introduced by Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson proposes giving police more power to gather information and carry out surveillance in order to reduce crime. The Bar Association’s comments on the bill criticised that the decision-making power for such activities would rest solely with police. “We believe that increased legal certainty consists in these actions requiring a court order,” stated Sigurður Örn Hilmarsson, the chairman of the Icelandic Bar Association.
Sigurður stated he is concerned that the proposed surveillance is quite general and quite extensive. “There are, of course, some conditions in the bill, but it give the police authority to monitor people’s movements without they themselves being under suspicion of criminal conduct, whether or not they have committed a crime or are preparing to commit a crime,” he stated.
When it comes to investigating the most serious crimes, such as terrorism or organised crime, Sigurður says such cases would be better placed in the hands of a dedicated organisation, such as an intelligence service, if such an organisation is deemed necessary.