Norway approves armed police at country’s main airport

Oslo airport
Oslo airport used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Your Airport Wifi Details]

Police at Oslo Airport would be able to carry weapons, following approval by the Norwegian cabinet on Thursday.

Justice and Public Security Minister, Per-Willy Amundsen, told reporters that “if anything were to happen at Oslo Airport, the potential harm could be sizeable.

“Oslo airport is an exposed place with large, open areas where many people pass through daily,” he said.

Police are not usually armed in Norway, and store weapons in their official vehicles.

That provision was introduced in 2013, two years after right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik carried out twin bomb and shooting attacks in Oslo and at a Labour Party youth camp that claimed 77 lives.

Prior to 2013, weapons were usually kept at police stations.

Officers would now be able to carry weapons at Oslo airport for an upcoming three-month period.

Current legislation allowed police to be armed for a three-month period in connection with specific situations, which could be extended eight weeks at a time.

Norwegian police were therefore armed during an elevated threat level, between November 2014 and February 2016.

Amundsen’s ministry was reviewing legislation to see if it is possible to allow police to be permanently armed and also to arm police at other airports.

The security service PST as well as airport operator Avinor support permanently armed police.

Police chiefs in Norway’s three main cities Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim are in favour of police being permanently armed, while police chiefs in six other districts opposed such a move, public broadcaster NRK reported.

(dpa/NAN)


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