“I argue that policing is largely a community orientated profession, in which their relationship to the people they protect is essential for a safe and sustainable environment. This relationship, however, is two-sided, as it is not only up to the police to build constructive connections, but also the community’s responsibility to partake in this partnership.”
The 25th of June 2022, the London Pub in Oslo became the site of a shooting. An estimated 250 people bore witness, 21 were injured, and two died. The news struck international headlines and many Norwegians got a sour taste in their mouth. It was reminder of what had transpired in Oslo and on Utøya eleven years prior. Two months later, Oslo has again become the victim of a handful of shootings and criminal violence, which has indeed spooked the capital. The latest shootings differ, with the one in June targeting a specific group of people, and the others being crime gang related. Are these acts of violence random, and therefore part of a general rise in crime? Or are they somehow indicative of an erosion of the basic relationships between the government, police and the public? In this short article, I will not try to solve the issue of why there has been a sudden rise in shootings, but rather reflect on what preventive actions one might take to counter a possible rise in violent crime.
In doing so, I argue that policing is largely a community orientated profession, in which their relationship to the people they protect is essential for a safe and sustainable environment. This relationship, however, is two-sided, as it is not only up to the police to build constructive connections, but also the community’s responsibility to partake in this partnership. Perhaps the shootings and crimes in Oslo would decrease, should the police and the respective communities build a prosperous and respectful relationship that seeks to prevent criminal behaviour, and foster a generation that aims to be a contributing factor to their surrounding environments. But how does one build trust between the two factions? There is no simple answer, and this article cannot argue justly for any proposed activity. However, building trust generally starts with communication. Maybe the police could do more in reaching out to the respective communities? This could be organised in various forms of events, workshops, and public talks. The aims of these potential outreaches should be to really understand what the community needs, and why they end up being criminal. Thus, both actors can start to understand one another better, and perhaps tackle the issue with the potential increase in crime.
We do not know whether the increased crime rates in Oslo, is but a random spike, or a trend. Neither am I no expert of the police force in Oslo. However, this article seeks to reflect over some elements of community orientated policing should the Oslo police, in fact, need to focus more on the community. I argue that building a bridge between the community and the police in terms of various outreaches, should help in this manner, to fully understand one another and to realise what is needed from each side.
Tomas Bue Kessel, student intern at the ICT4COP Centre, NMBU