Morality squad sought as sex crimes escalate

After a summer that saw a spike in sexual assault across the country and experts drawing links to the “porno generation”, Norwegian politicians are being asked by opposition leaders to revive plans for a national morality police squad.

“The government’s own sexual assault and women’s rights committees suggested a morality police, but nothing has happened,” Liberal party deputy leader Ola Elvestuen was quoted by newspaper Aftenposten as saying.

Elvestuen said the justice department had “disappointed” in a battle to stem surging numbers of rapes, especially in Oslo. He said the two special committees decided three years ago to establish SEPOL, a special squad for sexualized violence that was to work round-the-clock with police to analyse their investigations reports.

But the justice minister’s office mocked the assertion that SEPOL be revived, telling opposition politicians it had long been decided to hand sex crimes over to a sub-unit of the police special investigations force KRYPOS, normally a white-collar crimes outfit.

In May 2011, Oslo police released a report on 2010’s rape cases saying there were 189 reported cases, up 16 percent year-on-year. They qualified the numbers by saying men and women are both to blame in the opening phases of sexual encounters, but that women soon find they’re part of a degrading experience they had been powerless to stop.

Alcohol use, police say, often smoothes the transition from pleasant to nightmarish.

When its bars close, Oslo Sentrum — where many assaults take place — empties alcohol-infused revellers into lush darkened neighbourhoods and parks. The Palace Park, or Slottsparket, was the scene for a late-August attack when a woman walking home alone an hour after midnight was approached by a man.

The assault occurred while crowds of people were still milling around near the palace, the witness told police.

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