About the network

The Nordic countries have had close relations over the centuries. To a great extent they function after the same ideas and principles, both as nation states and welfare states. Over the past fifty years, the connections between Europe and the Nordic countries have varied, with e.g. the Danish entering into the European Union already in 1972, while Norway and Iceland (still) not being members of the Union. State and institutional boundaries in contemporary Europe are undergoing profound transformations. Are the particular relations between the police or policing functions in the Nordic countries that are valuable to maintain in the future? Is there a 'Scandinavian exceptionalism' in Nordic crime Control? And if so - how does it work, if it works?

State boundaries are, even while they are becoming blurred, also gaining a renewed practical and symbolic relevance. Policing agencies, including but not limited to state institutions and the public police, are grappling with these developments in various ways. On the international and supra-national levels, a plethora of agreements, agencies and mechanisms within the EU and the Schengen area has been developed to meet challenges with border-crossing implications. Within states, new partnerships are forming between traditional law-enforcement organizations but also – often unexpected – between public and private actors. In Norway, for example, the critical debates that ensued in the aftermath of the atrocities of 22 July 2011 revealed the need for policing research on emergency powers and on police and military cooperation more generally.


One of the ambitions of our network is to explore which relevance and importance the Nordic countries may have in the future. John Pratt launched the concept of ‘Scandinavian exceptionalism’ in his articles first in 2008, referring to the low imprisonment rates and humane prison conditions in the Nordic countries. We ask: Is there a Scandinavian exceptionalism also within the field of policing? The Nordic countries have different levels of involvement in the EU police cooperation. Whilst Norway is an eager participant in all the available international and transnational police cooperation measures in the Schengen and the EU, Denmark is, despite being an EU member state, far more reluctant. At the same time, the trends in are often similar and take place almost simultaneously, as for example with police legislation reforms taking place during the same years in the early 20th century, and again now, around a hundred years later. What are the similarities and differences, how may we learn from these – and what role may the Nordic countries play towards each other and towards the EU and the international society in general?

Network members: Young?

The network’s aim is to gather young researchers in the area of police and policing for annual seminars with themes concerning issues of police or policing that are particularly relevant in the Nordic countries, and/or issues that are interesting to contrast Nordic practice to other countries’ practices. We want to inspire Nordic researchers to learn about the Nordic similarities and differences, which in turn may lead to improve the understanding of the policing in the home state of the participants.

We believe the delimitation to ‘young’ researchers is fruitful because it is of great value to have a forum for early career researchers to freely exchange new ideas. 'Young' does not refer to age, but simply to unestablished, i.e. not professor! Such collaboration is profitable for academic milieus across the Nordic borders, since our ambition also is to connect researchers within more specific sub-fields in the countries respectively. While there are already informal networks of researchers within police and policing research in the Nordic countries, our formalization will facilitate concrete collaborative and research projects, joint publications and several seminars in the years to come.


Contact Synnøve Ugelvik.


Published Aug. 29, 2014 4:02 PM - Last modified Oct. 30, 2014 9:20 AM