The Norden – Police.

Holy shit, the contrast. Watch. Just watch. I want to live in Finland. Thanks to Ice Swimmer for this one! I was particularly impressed with the training, which shocked the LA cop. Not only the 3 years, but that they were being trained as part of the community, not as apart and elite, like is done here in uStates.

The Norden.


  1. Ice Swimmer says

    The Swedish student had one half or one year to do of her 2,5 -- 3-year studies. It’s 3 years in Finland and Norway as well.

    The Norwegians are in their own class because their country is so rich*, bulletproof glass and walls in the station house and even though they use the guns very rarely, it seems they’ve got the guns with laser sights and all.
    * = Thanks to their geography (mountains on the west coast of Atlantic, the warm Gulf stream and mostly western winds ensuring plentiful rains on the mountains) and low population, they can export electricity from their hydropower stations. They also have rich and cheap-to-exploit oil fields and coal mines in Spitsbergen.

  2. says

    While guns with laser sights don’t seem terribly necessary, it’s still a very long way from the seriously over-armed, military weaponized forces here.

    Thanks so much for pointing this out. It’s such a huge cultural difference. A lack of guns alone makes such a difference.

  3. Ice Swimmer says

    You’re welcome.

    I think accuracy (not that I know how much the laser sights help actually, though the things attached to the guns may just be ordinary lamps) may save lives in some situations. I sincerely hope cops don’t spray and pray if they ever have to shoot.

  4. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I wonder what the other participants would have to say about their American guest.
    This was just a rather short video cut from a lot of hours he spent with them, but I couldn’t help noticing the overly familiar way he acted with the sole woman of the group. He did the hand on the back thing with her. I hate when men do that.

  5. says

    Also the “you hit like a girl” business. Never a thought that perhaps that was more than sufficient, because she wasn’t looking to beat heads in every 5 minutes.

  6. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Oh yeah, that too. And the question about astrological sign. When I look at it all together , it doesn’t paint a very progressive picture.

  7. says

    No, it doesn’t. I could be nice, and say “okay, the man’s a flirt”, but I don’t think he had the slightest idea of how condescending he was being.

    One thing that was overwhelmingly clear though, was that the reason we have a rotten police system is because we have a rotten culture. It all has to change, or nothing will. Especially as we’re past the tipping point in uStates. Someone in Baton Rouge killed more cops today.

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    My main impression of the man was how afraid he was. It really seemed like he was genuinely afraid every time he went in the street at home, and he just couldn’t believe the Nordic cops weren’t.
    That can’t be healthy, all that paranoia all the time. It makes it less strange that the US cops are so likely to pull a gun at first sign of what they perceive as a threat (like, “black man walking down the street” :( ).

    re: Baton Rouge.
    I looked it up. Nasty. That killing cops isn’t a solution is a given ,but don’t these idiots also realize that they are juts giving excuse to the police to arm themselves more heavily, to shoot sooner, to be more paranoid?

  9. says


    I looked it up. Nasty. That killing cops isn’t a solution is a given ,but don’t these idiots also realize that they are juts giving excuse to the police to arm themselves more heavily, to shoot sooner, to be more paranoid?

    But, we can’t talk gun control, no, because that would be bad! I don’t understand this fucking country -- guns are all important, and it’s fine if people die, and it’s fine if everyone is walking around terrified all the time, as long as we can keep our guns.

    It’s insanity. It has to be.

  10. rq says

    What Beatrice said about the familiarity / sexism with the female colleague (it’s still a professional situation).

    In Norway, a comment about the clientele in LA being different from that in Norway -- subtle racist jab? I don’t know, but it sort of struck me that way.

    (Aside: I was trying to place Whittingham’s accent at first, and it all fell into place when he said he’s originally from Jamaica. Sorry, it was just sticking out for me.)

    I was curious about the trunk, where he pushes the trunk shut when making a stop -- how often is there a hidden passenger in an open trunk, ready to attack the police? That almost seems like an excess of paranoia.

    I was struck by the difference in vocabulary, and how that primes you to think of people -- in the USoA it’s ‘suspects’, in Finland they said ‘customer’ or ‘client’. It really changes the way you think about the people you encounter and how you’re going to treat them.

    The open door during a traffic stop -- the more I think about it, the more sense it makes, because with the door open, you’re at an awkward angle for the driver to shoot or stab you, plus there’s the mentioned bit about using the door as a shield. And you’re at a perfect angle to back away yourself and get behind the car as cover.

    The final comments about learning from 20/20 hindsight: I’m pretty sure the situation is the same in the USoA, but they’re approaching the problem from the Superiority of Police angle instead of the Serve and Protect angle, so they’re also learning from 20/20 hindsight, but with far more tragic consequences.

    Yeah, the paranoia was apparent, whether he’s conscious of it, or not. You could tell the Norwegian officer (Remi?) was a bit hesitant about going into the streets unarmed, and he had an opinion about carrying weapons -- I would have liked to hear more of it. Also the possibly-armed robber in the street, could have shown more from that scenario, I would really have liked to hear more of the Norwegian approach (they basically just left it at the ‘if someone definitely saw a gun or knife’ statement, but I’m sure there was more to it). But the last guy providing his opinion about police being armed really took the point about escalation, that was nice.

    And Baton Rouge, geez. Tipping point. :(

  11. Ice Swimmer says

    That customer thing has been a part of Finnish police slang for quite a while. I think it comes from the joke: “What’s the difference between a shop assistant and a cop? The shop assistant has long hours, bad pay and the customer is always right, but the cop has short hours, good pay and the customer has it always wrong).

    On other hand, cops do have a “customer service” function in picking up and transporting passed-out or otherwise unable to take care of themselves drunk people to the custody unit (not a jail) so that they can clear their head in a safe place.

  12. rq says


    That killing cops black people isn’t a solution is a given ,but don’t these idiots also realize that they are juts giving excuse to the police to arm themselves more heavily, to shoot sooner, to be more paranoid?

    Kinda works that way, too. It’s a cycle of escalation, and I have no idea how to stop it.
    (I could even say that the cops have been doing it for longer, but this gets us into pointless argument territory.)

  13. Ice Swimmer says

    beatrice @ 4

    I’m not sure about Swedes (though I don’t think there’s a big difference), but touching other people (apart from shaking hands) is culturally inappropriate in Finland unless you are really close friends or family. So the L.A. cop may have crossed boundaries on multiple levels.

  14. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says



  15. says

    I sincerely hope cops don’t spray and pray if they ever have to shoot.

    US cops tend to do that. That’s why you hear of killings where 100+ rounds are fired and 6 or 7 hit the victim. There are bullets flying everywhere. One dirty secret the cops like to cover up is how many times bystanders or killed hostages died with bullets in them that came from cop’s guns.

    There’s footage online of UK swat teams taking down armed criminals. Those guys can shoot, I must say. Partly it’s because the UK swat teams tend to be made up of very serious people who practice very hard, and they train at shooting and maneuvering like a civilian version of the SAS. If you watch “the final option” -- a bad 1970s movie -- it shows a bit about how the crossover between military tactics and civilian swat happens. Done right, it’s life-saving. Done wrong you get hailstorms of bullets and collateral damage.

  16. usagichan says

    What struck me most was the argument from the American policeman that he needed a gun as the final option in a chain of escalations (baton, pepper spray, taser, gun) without considering that the escalation may be caused by his having a gun. It was almost as though he saw the lack of rounds fired as a bad thing.
    If it is a problem for the Scandanvian country’s police, one would assume that they would be taking casualties as a result of not carrying guns. As they don’t seem to be, at worst the assumption must be that not carrying weapons all the time is a neutral proposition, but it is also possible that not carrying weapons actually reduces the risk of escalating situations.

  17. Rob says

    Thanks for posting that Caine, it was really interesting. In NZ our police follow the Norwegian model. Firearms in a locker in the boot of the car. I’m not even sure every car has them. Its only recently that they even started wearing Tasers, and not every cop does. That said, it does seem anecdotally that both shootings by and at the police have been increasing. It’s hard to say who is on the leading edge/initiated the arms race.

    Most of the population support the idea of an unarmed police. A significant proportion of the police want to carry side arms. These seem to be mostly younger officers who have been raised on episodes of Most Wanted and similar ‘reality’ cop shows. They have shaved or close cropped hair, wear wrap around shades clearly spend a lot of time at the gym. They generally seem very standoffish and stare through you rather than at you. I’ve spoken about this to older officers who have made no effort to hide their disdain at these guys whom they see as being incapable of interacting at a ‘normal’ level.

    My anecdotal experience is that where the police have limited access to guns and a culture of not using them, containment and patience seem to be used as the preferred way of dealing with violent or troubled individuals. Sometimes a situation can’t be contained and violence is the answer, but often an individual will give themselves up, fall asleep or kill themselves (which is sad, but better than a fire fight). A friend who used to be a cop said his most effective weapons were a calm voice, non-threatening stance and a smile -- right up to the moment he absolutely had to fight.

    How you unwind a society that is already militarised and divided I don’t know sorry.

    PS -- yeah the touching Manda on her back really struck me. That was barely acceptable back in the 1970’s unless you knew someone really well. As for bringing up star signs and ‘hitting like a girls’, I was just, like, what?!

  18. says


    How you unwind a society that is already militarised and divided I don’t know sorry.

    I don’t think anyone knows how to do that. As for your young cops, fuck, do whatever you can to stop the contamination of American policing. It’s no good for anyone.

  19. mostlymarvelous says

    It’s encouraging to note that the “contamination” of American style policing can be reversed. A few years ago it was glaringly obvious that something was desperately wrong in Victoria in Australia. It had far more police killings of suspects/citizens than all the other states put together.

    Turned out they had hired an American as a trainer of recruits and in retraining /updating existing officers and the techniques they used were very different from other states. So his services/programs were stopped and they took 2 or 3 years to get through reversing that training and retraining in de-escalation and the perfectly-normal-for-other-states strategies of isolating and wearing down armed criminals & others in domestic/psychotic breakdowns and thereby minimising deaths and injuries to everyone affected.

    Death rates went down and they’re now much of a muchness with the rest of Australia. It wouldn’t be so easy in the USA obviously, but it might be worth trying in places like Hawaii which already has a lower than average rate of gun crime and gun ownership in the community. Hawaii has the inestimable advantage of no neighbouring states where gun controls can be circumvented by the simple expedient of driving to a shop or a gun show across the state boundary to buy weapons &or ammunition.

  20. mostlymarvelous says

    Uh, forgot this.

    Project Beacon ushered in the current Victoria Police ‘Safety First Philosophy’ that
    ‘the success of an operation will be primarily judged on the extent to which the use of force is avoided or minimised’.
    The project was brought about by an untenable number of fatal police shootings, particularly in the few years before 1994, much like the genesis of this review.

    Page 3 of—nov-2005.pdf?sfvrsn=4

    ‘The success of an operation will be primarily judged on the extent to which the use of force is avoided or minimised’ sound like good words to live by in a decent police force.

  21. says

    Here is a very interesting first hand account of an British street cop:

    The two most important lessons i took from it were
    a) If you want to disarm the police, you have to disarm to population first
    b) When you divide the police into an unarmed and an armed wing, you can train them more effectively. Train the street cop in the skills he needs can deescalate most situations long before an armed response becomes necessary. And the armed response cop, trilled with the right combat skills, can defuse a situation much quicker and safer than a street cop with a few rounds of gun range training.

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