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Copenhagen police to ban people with criminal records from nightlife areas

Copenhagen Police have announced that it will implement four ‘nightlife’ zones from which people with certain types of criminal records can be banned.

Copenhagen police to ban people with criminal records from nightlife areas
A file photo of Gothersgade in Copenhagen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The new zones will make use of a change in the law, which was passed by parliament in July, allowing police to enforce the restriction. Copenhagen is the first police district in the country to make use of the new law.

Four areas near the central part of the city will be considered ‘nightlife zones’. People with previous convictions for certain types of crime can be banned from the zones for up to two years.

The zones take effect on September 14th for an initial two-year period, meaning they will be in place until at least September 13th, 2023, Copenhagen Police said in a statement.

All four zones are located close to the central part of the city in either the Inner City or Vesterbro neighbourhoods. They include the streets Gothersgade, Vestergade and Vesterbrogade along with the popular Kødbyen (The Meatpacking District), which has a high concentration of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Persons who breach the ban can face a fine of 10,000 kroner for a first offence and up to 30 days in prison for repeat offences.

Police said they hoped to work together with local businesses to enforce the zones.

“The law enables exchange of information about persons with nightlife bans with bar owners. But we are currently waiting for more detailed information on how this will take place in practice,” Copenhagen Police director Anne Tønnes said.

Enforcement of the new rules will meanwhile rely on police patrols in the relevant locations, as well as police response to reports from the public.

The zonal bans can be applied to people with previous convictions including for certain crimes against the person or weapons offences.

Tønnes said that the zones have “no practical significance” for “completely normal, law-abiding citizens” other than their intended effect of “creating a more secure nightlife environment for everyone”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Denmark in September 2021

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PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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