Photo: Tony Webster (CC BY 2.0)

Police Use New Law: Introduce Heightened Penalty Zone in Christiania

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Copenhagen Police are implementing a new heightened penalty zone in and around Christiania.

This is part of the effort to combat organized hash trade in Pusher Street.

The heightened penalty zone entails, among other things, harsher penalties for both buyers and sellers of illegal substances.

The penalty zone is established based on new legislation that came into effect at the turn of the year. The law enables the police to designate targeted heightened penalty zones if there is open and systematic trade of psychoactive substances in an area, causing significant unease for individuals residing or moving in the area.

The heightened penalty zone in Christiania will come into effect on Wednesday, January 10, 2024, at 12:00 and is initially valid for six months until July 10, 2024, at 12:00. The zone covers the entire Christiania and parts of the surrounding area.

-“We see the heightened penalty zone as an effective tool in the effort against the blatant and systematic hash trade, especially in Pusher Street. We will target both sellers and buyers, and they can expect significantly harsher penalties if caught with illegal substances. With the heightened penalty zone, we take another step towards a permanent closure of hash trade in Christiania,” says Police Director of Copenhagen Police, Anne Tønnes.

Copenhagen Police already have an extensive effort against organized hash trade in Pusher Street, and this effort will continue. Concurrently, work on the comprehensive plan for Pusher Street, aiming for a permanent closure of hash trade in the street and putting an end to the crime causing insecurity in the area, will continue.

-“Citizens’ safety is a priority for us, and we believe that a heightened penalty zone in and around Christiania will contribute to increased safety. As buyers of psychoactive substances, one should be aware that they are supporting serious and organized crime. Therefore, we will also go after the buyers, and the message to them is to stay away,” says Anne Tønnes.

FACT: The new legislation entails, among other things:

  1. Buyers of illegal substances are, as a baseline, subject to imprisonment upon their second offense within the heightened penalty zone. Additionally, the fine is doubled for the first offense in the zone. This means that a first-time offense of possessing even small quantities of hash could result in a fine of 4,000 Danish kroner instead of 2,000 Danish kroner.
  2. Doubling the penalty for violating the zone bans that the police currently have the authority to issue to individuals participating in organized hash trade, among other activities. For example, the penalty for a first-time violation of a zone ban will now, as a baseline, be 14 days of unconditional imprisonment, compared to the current seven days, and the penalty can be further doubled if the violation occurs within the heightened penalty zone.

It’s important to note that the heightened penalty zone should not be confused with a stop-and-search zone, where the police can stop and search individuals without specific grounds for suspicion.

Source: Copenhagen Police.

The heightened penalty zone is bordered by Prinsessegade – Refshalevej – Forlandet – Norddyssen – Midtdyssen – Syddyssen – Vermlandsgade – Torvegade. Image: Copenhagen Police.

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