The Border Commissariat is an independent public administrative body subordinate to the Police directorate.
The main responsibility of the Norwegian border commissioner of the Norwegian-Russian border is to ensure that both parties comply with the Agreement between Norway and the Soviet Union concerning the regime of the Norwegian-Soviet frontier.
As well as following correct procedure for the settlement of frontier disputes and incidents, and other bilateral agreements that regulate conditions on the border between Norway and Russia. In addition to preventing and settling any incidents and conflicts in cooperation with Russian border authorities.
The Border Commissioner
Located in the center of Kirkenes, the Border Commissariat is headed by the Border Commissioner and consists of an office manager, an interpreter/senior adviser and two border inspectors.
In addition, the Border Commissioner had appointed some local representatives from the armed forces and the police as border assistants in order to assist with solving concrete tasks as needed.
The position of border commissioner is a civilian one, but it has always been filled by an officer from the armed forces in order for Russia's border commissioner to meet with someone of equal rank.
The Border Commissariat's main responsibilities
The main responsibility of The Border Commissioner and his staff is to follow up the Border agreement of 1949 and other bilateral agreements that regulate conditions on the Norwegian-Russian border. A central task tied to these agreements is preventative work meant to minimize the likelihood of incidents on the border. This includes disseminating information regarding conditions on the border to the general public, and inspection and maintenance of the border corridor and boundary markers as well as placing other markers, such as buoys and stakes, on the Pasvik river.
These tasks require reciprocal cooperation between the Norwegian Border Commissariat and the County Governor, in addition to the Police department and border guard. Moreover, good communication with the Russian Border commissioner and their assistants, in the form of frequent dialogue, official meetings and letters, is a central part of managing this responsibility.
Mutual understanding, respect and predictability is important when resolving potential incidents on the border and its surrounding areas. Meetings between the Border Commissioners are normally conducted on a monthly basis, and the border inspectors and assistants meet more frequently. Letters are exchanged at the border crossing between Storskog and Boris Gleb. All incidents and subsequent measures regarding the national border are documented in protocols written in both Russian and Norwegian.
The Norwegian-Russian border is under surveillance and patrolled by the border guard, which is a part of the Garrison of Sør-Varanger. Their responsibility includes the reporting of potential violations of the bilateral agreements between Norway and Russia, in addition to general border laws and regulations.
The border guard has police authority and is present on behalf of the police in order to inform and to implement measures to prevent violations of the law. The Police department has the national responsibility of the Schengen border and person checks at Storskog Border Station.
There is a cooperation agreement between the Norwegian Border Commissioner, the Police department and the border guard which describes each authorities' responsibility towards the other two parties. The Border Commissioner has, amongst other tasks, the obligation to facilitate the communication between Norwegian authorities and the Russian Border Commissioner, regarding the circumstances described in the Border Agreement.