Group Fight Challenges Understaffed Akureyri Police

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Group Fight Challenges Understaffed Akureyri Police

The police in Akureyri, northeast Iceland, experienced difficulties while trying to stop a drug-fueled group fight in the town on Thursday. There is no drug enforcement department in Akureyri and the mayor wants to recruit more officers.

“If we had had a drug enforcement department, this case may never have come up,” Thórarinn Jóhannesson, duty officer at the Akureyri police, told Fréttabladid. Two group fights broke out on Thursday night, and it is assumed that payoffs between drug-abusers in the town were at the heart of the dispute.

The parties involved were local residents, both men and women aged between 18 and 25. They fought with golf clubs, table legs and axes in a residential area. The line at Neydarlínan emergency service rang non-stop during the fights.

Only two people were arrested and one was taken to the emergency room. According to Jóhannesson, more could have been arrested if more police officers had been available.

“Under such circumstances, two police officers are needed for each private citizen,” Jóhannesson said. “There were only five of us on call, but we got a backup of two police officers from Húsavík and tried to stop those who behaved the worst.”

“We have repeatedly pointed out that we need more police officers,” said Mayor of Akureyri Sigrún Björk Jakobsdóttir. “We are very concerned about the situation and will do our best to strengthen the police force.”

Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason said that the Akureyri police department recently recruited special force officers. The minister’s assistant, Thórir Hrafnsson, said it is unlikely that special measures will be taken because of Thursday’s events.