Police target drivers around Christiania

As part of new efforts to crack down on Pusher Street, Copenhagen Police roll out their new ‘Narkometer’ to test drivers suspected of being under the influence of cannabis

Jens Madsen has stepped down as PET boss (Photo: PET)
November 1st, 2012 8:53 pm| by admin

Copenhagen Police stopped vehicles around Christiania this afternoon as part of a co-ordinated effort to crack down on drivers who operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 


Police announced earlier in the day that they would be initiating a nationwide effort, both today and tomorrow, to catch revellers who may have indulged in too much Christmas beer as the traditional ‘J-dag’, the day on which Tuborg’s mass-produced Christmas beer is released, arrives on Friday. 


But police also used the opportunity to debut a new piece of equipment they’ve dubbed the ‘Narkometer’, which can measure the presence of various substances including THC, the active chemical in cannabis. If police suspect an individual of being under the influence, the driver will be asked to swab the inside of their cheeks with a cotton bud that will then be set in the 'Narkometer'. If the apparatus indicates a positive result, the police will then take a blood sample to confirm the presence of drugs.


Police put the new tool to work on Thursday afternoon around the alternative freetown of Christiania, where cannabis is sold openly and where police have vowed to increase their efforts to cut down on the drug trade through its Task Force Pusher Street


“Our strategy is to hit sellers, buyers and suppliers so that we can get the organised criminality in Pusher Street under control,” Poul Kjeldsen of the Copenhagen Police told DR News. “If you drive under the influence [of cannabis], the hammer will fall and the hammer will fall hard.”


The penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis are indeed rather harsh. A first offence results in a fine equivalent to 1/25 of the offender’s yearly salary and the loss of their driver’s licence for three years. A second offence carries with it a ten-day jail sentence and a five-year loss of licence, while a fourth offence results in 30 days behind bars and a ten-year loss of licence. 


By roughly 6pm on Thursday, the police tactic had nabbed 39 drivers for driving under the influence of cannabis. 


The use of the new ‘Narkometer’ follows another new tactic revealed early last month, when police carried out a large-scale operation at Christianshavn Metro station targeting the customers of nearby Christiania. A mass inspection of nearly 6,000 Metro travellers netted 258,275 kroner in ticket fines, several arrests and the confiscation of 21 joints, 243 grammes of hash and about eight grammes of pot. 


The police’s renewed focus on Christiania came after reports over the summer revealed that the freetown’s largely-unchecked drug trade amounted to a billion kroner black-market industry


Several local politicians, including Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), have called for the legalisation of cannabis, but the national government has thus far refuted the city officials’ efforts. In September, Jensen argued that the city needed a “paradigm shift” in its approach to cannabis and Christiania, contending that police crackdowns would be at best a temporary solution.


NOTE: This article was updated on 5.11.12 at 19:15 to clarify that the police first take a saliva sample and then, if that is positive, take a blood sample

Give that man a medal: George de Hevesy
Nobel cause: how Niels Bohr and his accomplice fooled the Nazis on Occupation Day
Converting a contraband into another form is an old trick in the world of s...
A magical day at the cinema is free on Saturday (photo: iStock)
Free Saturday entry at the cinema for all children turning 10 in 2015
Who doesn't remember the first time they sat down in the cinema with a bag ...
Young girls are opting out of getting the HPV virus (photo: James Chathany)
Fewer opting for cervical cancer vaccine
Fewer young women are opting to get the HPV vaccine that doctors say is an ...
Malmö Live also includes offices, housing and a 444-room hotel with two restaurants and a sky bar (photo: Schmidt/Hammer/Lasse)
New concert and convention centre opens in Malmö
As Malmö continues on its quest to become an influential player in the Ør...
The trial starts in Hjørring next week (photo: Tomasz Sienicki)
Mother and stepfather charged with allowing men to rape their nine-year-old daughter
A nine-year-old girl was forced to have intercourse and oral sex with stran...
20 million kroner earmarked for independent media in developing countries (photo: iStock)
Denmark gives millions to independent media in developing countries
The Danish government has earmarked 20 million kroner for independent media...