NEWS IN BRIEF: Police are so busy concentrating on the Anders Behring Breivik terror case many criminals are escaping going to jail.
Politicians usually complain Norwegian prisons are overcrowded, but there are currently plenty of bunks for potential prisoners since the 22 July massacre.
Oslo District Court reports remand hearings are down 40 percent on the same period last year, admitting the Breivik case has affected numbers. Many cases are shelved temporarily.
“We now have 25 vacant cells out of 392, so we have the capacity to accommodate remand prisoners from police custody,” said prison director Stig Storvik to NRK.
Underlining Oslo Police are still capable of carrying out their tasks with help for their district colleagues, however, Deputy Police Chief Hans Halvorsen says people must understand their “challenging situation”, despite the drop and recent criticism of the force.
“Of course this is a challenging situation for Oslo police. There is not much doubt about it. We use large resources. We have approximately 140 people just focusing on investigating the case alone” he said.
Meanwhile, NRK reports police may consider transferring indicted Anders Behring Breivik, to whom women around the world are sending fan mail, from his solitary confinement in Ila prison to special high-security prisons Skien or Ringerike.
“This could be relevant when his interrogations are over and there is no particular dependency upon a short distance between jail and Oslo,” says Bjørn Krogsrud, Director of Criminal Services for southern Norway.
Skien prison’s special high-security wing was last used in 2007 or 2008, according to its director.