The last time Norwegian police shot and killed somebody was 2006 – that’s 10 years ago!
The most notable moment since 2006 was when terrorist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Utoya and Oslo in 2011. The police only fired back at Breivik once. In 2014, they fired only two shots while they were out on duty, despite drawing their guns 42 times. There were no injuries in either case.
This report is significant, as it compares to the United States Police, who have killed more than 600 people this year alone. This may well be because the United States police officers face worse threats of violence while on duty.
Most of the time police patrols in Norway do not involve firearms, which could explain why the number of shootings by the police is so low. Law enforcement in Norway is similar to that in Britain, as they only carry guns during critical missions, otherwise patrolling without any firearms.
Experts have said that taking a fresh look at American policing tactics could help to lower the rate of police shootings – this would particularly mean focussing less on force and trying to increase the number of face-to-face interactions. This is difficult, as the public have a rather distrustful view of the U.S. police.
Sociologist Guðmundur Oddsson, speaking to Tech Insider, says that “Trust is an extremely powerful mechanism of informal social control. In smaller, more ethnically homogeneous countries like Norway, building that trust is easy. People feel a sense of togetherness for many reasons, including the fact that most people look similar and hold similar beliefs”. Norwegians are more trusting of the effectiveness of their law enforcement. This could be one of the reasons that Norway has a consistently low rate of gun violence.