Statewatch article: RefNo# 24967
Norway: police & security agencies
Statewatch archive
Norway: police & security agencies
bacdoc July=1995

The information in this country file was first published in the
handbook "Statewatching the new Europe" (November 1993). It was
compiled by Peter Klerks and extracted from a longer report which
is available from: The Domestic Security Research Foundation, PO
Box 11178, 1001 GD, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


324,220km˛, 4,273,442 inhabitants

Long-form name: Kingdom of Norway
Type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: Oslo

Administrative divisions: 19 provinces (fylker, singular--fylke).
Dependent areas: Bouvet Island, Jan Mayen, Svalbard

Constitution: 17 May 1814, modified in 1884

Legal system: mixture of customary law, civil law system, and
common law traditions; Supreme Court renders advisory opinions
to legislature when asked; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction,
with reservations

Executive branch: monarch, prime minister, State Council

Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament (Stortinget) with an
Upper Chamber (Lagting) and a Lower Chamber (Odelsting)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Hoiesterett)


Total no. of police officers (Hazenberg en Mulschlegel 1992
estimate): 6,000 plus about 2,000 administrative personnel and
para-police functionaries. Women in the police (in percentage):
± 7. No. of police officers per 100,000 inhabitants: 139 (EC av.

The Norske Politiet (Norwegian police) is a national force,
responsible to the Minister of Justice. Central services include
the Police Security Service (the political intelligence branch,
about 150 strong plus personnel in the district offices; they
have executive powers and are also responsible for anti-terrorism
intelligence and VIP protection), the Central Criminal Police
Bureau (CFC, incorporating the Norwegian Interpol NCB), the
national Mobile Traffic Police, the anti-terrorist unit, the
central police EDP service and a Narcotics Branch.
Norway is divided into 54 police districts, with a
Politimester (Chief Constable) heading each district directly
responsible to the Minister. Each district has a police area HQ
(Politikammer) as well as a number of Politistasjoner. A police
reserve is available for national emergencies such as disasters
or wars. For coordination purposes the country is divided into
five regions, each with a regional police chief.

Special units

The Beredskapstrop (readiness troop) is the hostage rescue unit
of the Norwegian National Police (Thompson, 1986: 116-7), about
50 strong and consists of police officers who combine regular
police work with additional training of about three days a week.
For back-up purposes, the military has an anti-terrorist platoon
which is trained and equipped to international standards.
Riot control is the responsibility of the Utrykningspolitiet,
a 150-strong Mobile Police organised into six divisions
throughout Norway (Andrade 1985). Mobile Police personnel are
allocated to ordinary police units to be recalled only in an

Weaponry and special equipment

Uniformed police are usually unarmed except for a baton. In Oslo
all patrol cars have firearms on board in locked safes. .38
revolvers, carbines and sub machine guns are available for
specific occasions.

Arrests and the treatment of detainees

Persons may be detained without being charged for up to four
hours. A person charged with a crime has the right to appear
before a judge within 24 hours.


The Police Security Service is responsible for domestic
intelligence gathering, anti-terrorism intelligence, VIP
protection and counter-espionage. The Police Security Service has
executive police powers and employs 150 officials at its
headquarters in Oslo. Norway has a parliamentary Intelligence
Control Commission. The security service is a separate branch of
the police and is responsible to the Minister of Justice.


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