The immediate future will place great demands on both individuals and society as a whole. Some of the responsibilities and priorities of the police will change in line with the government's efforts to limit the spread of the corona virus, while others will remain fixed.

"Our most important job is to ensure security, the rule of law and public order in Norway. We will continue to fight crime, and the police will be available to the public also in these testing times," says National Police Commissioner Benedicte Bjørnland.

Advice and guidance

The police are an important contributor to the overall effort to prevent the spread of the corona virus in Norway. The measures implemented by the government primarily take the form of guidelines and advice, and the police will support the health authorities in this important effort.

In line with the directives from the Director of Public Prosecution, the police will give priority to violations of the Control of Communicable Diseases Act, but it is also important during this serious situation that the police continue to investigate and solve cases involving sexual abuse, domestic violence and other serious crime.

"It is a guiding principle for the police to provide guidance and advice before issuing orders or, ultimately, resorting to force or prosecution. However, there must be no doubt that blatant violations of the Control of Communicable Diseases Act will be investigated and may, in line with the directives from the Director of Public Prosecution, be sanctioned with heavy fines," says Commissioner Bjørnland.

A shared responsibility

In times of uncertainty such as these, many people contact the police when they observe what they perceive to be non-compliance with the advice issued to prevent contagion.

"Although the police are prepared to intervene should situations so require, police resources should not be tied up in ensuring that individuals heed the advice of the authorities at all times. Compliance with the measures to prevent spread of the virus is not a private matter, but a shared responsibility that we all must shoulder together. I ask everyone to be responsible and follow the advice issued by the authorities," says Commissioner Bjørnland.