The downtown police station Station City apprehended 22 drug dealers in Vesterbro over the past ten days, responding swiftly to the criticism that the pushers were peddling their wares without hindrance.
Out of the 22 dealers arrested, none were Danish and only three actually live in Denmark. Ten of the perpetrators were tourists and nine were asylum seekers. According to police, 19 of the arrestees are Africans.
“Three weeks ago we made a plan for how to return to Vesterbro and intensively pursue the drug dealers on the streets, and that plan was initiated on August 26,” police spokesperson Kaj Lykke Majlund told Ritzau.
Cocaine dealers have been able to ply their trade without issue over the summer after the police began concentrating their efforts on pick-pocketers instead.
Vesterbro residents subsequently complained over the sharp rise in dealers on the streets, which in turn led to the police promising action when resources allowed for it.
The justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), hailed the police for their efforts, including their new strategy to combat the drug trade in Christiania, and said that the consequences for foreigners dealing drugs would be dire, in a drug case that is teetering on becoming an immigration dilemma.
“There is a clear message here. One, narcotics crime will be punished quickly and strictly. Two, if there are people coming to Denmark who abuse our asylum system then they must be kicked out of the country in a hurry, and that’s exactly what will happen. We need to make sure our asylum system is effective and the consequences are dire for those who abuse it,” Bødskov told TV2 News.
While Bødskov avoided the question of how to prevent foreigners entering the country to deal drugs, Peter Skaarup of Dansk Folkeparti (DF) indicated that some preventative measures could be taken.
“I think that there must be a lot more control in regards to passengers, especially on the budget flights. Those airlines in particular do not follow guidelines as well as they should,” Skaarup told TV2 News. “More random inspections could help change this scenario.”
Despite the lax efforts over the summer period, the Station City police station made 113 arrests over the first six months of 2012, similar to the 119 arrests made over the same period the year before.