Andri Þór Sturluson, member of parliament for the Pirate Party, took to Facebook in order to encourage those who are against the arming of Icelandic police officers to call the national emergency hotline (112) whenever they see suspicious, armed men, whoever they may be, according to RÚV. He hopes that such an action would encourage the national commissioner of the Icelandic Police to re-examine a new policy.
This comes following a new decision by the national commissioner that armed officers be visible at large public gatherings. Armed police could be seen, for example, at the national football game between Iceland and Croatia and at the Color Run in Reykjavík in recent weeks. Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, in conversation with RÚV, said he hoped that the policy is only temporary.
Andri’s Facebook post has received mixed reactions, including concerns about such an action impeding police and emergency activity as a result of all lines being busy. He responded by saying that it wouldn’t take long to have an influence and adds that protests also typically hinder regular police activities.
Þórhallur Ólafsson, director of the national emergency hotline, told RÚV that he was surprised by Andri’s comments. “Fluctuations in our workload could result in it not being possible to get through to us, which can have unpredictable consequences.” He continued by warning the public not to follow through on the suggestion. “He is encouraging putting the public in danger. Our message is that the emergency hotline should not be misused under any circumstances.”
Update by Larissa Kyzer:
As of Wednesday morning, Andri Þór’s idea has gotten 70 likes on Pírataspjallið Facebook chat group for the Pirate Party, but it has also been criticized by those who worry that the influx of calls will prevent people who really need assistance from getting through to the police when they need to. In an interview with Vísir this morning, however, Andri Þór said that the idea was simply meant to be funny, and to make people think.
“Of course it’s a comic idea to call the police on the police. That’s just funny. Of course it’s not fun anymore if people believe that you want to block the emergency line and create some kind of danger. That’s just not right. I think that we need to stop for a moment … when we’re reading and watching the news. Then we’ll see that there is no reason to be so upset.”
“I don’t want people to block the emergency line…I want people to think about things from more than one perspective.”