1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Danish police won't seize refugee valuables

December 22, 2015

Denmark's police federation chief thinks plans to confiscate migrants' valuables to cover the cost of their stay is unworkable. The proposed measure has been likened to the Nazi's treatment of Jews during World War Two.

Danish police stop migrants
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Norgaard Larsen

Claus Oxfeldt told public radio DR on Tuesday that it is not the job of police officers to assess the value of a refugee's possessions.

“I can't imagine that we would go in and take away, for example wedding rings from refugees who come to the country,” he said, adding that officers would not be able to assess whether a ring is worth 1,000, 5,000 or 10,000 (Danish) kroner.

The controversial proposals, which were revealed in parliament last week, would see migrants' valuables seized to cover the costs of their stay in the country and to dissuade others from making a similar journey. Any item with a value of more than 3,000 kroner (400 euros) could be confiscated.

Unenforceable plan

Oxfedt, who is chairman of the Danish police federation, said his organization rejected the idea, which is set to be voted on by politicians in January and would come into force the following month.

The proposals have led to an online petition, which on Tuesday had garnered more than 15,000 signatures. A Danish MEP has left the ruling party in protest, describing the asset seizure as "a value shift that I find deeply worrying."

Imran Shah, a spokesman for Denmark's Islamic Society, went further, adding that the strategy was trying "to push the boundary of what will be possible for a future apartheid society."

Message to migrants

But the anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP) has insisted that the country needs to send a "signal" to stop migrants from traveling to the country.

"Basically we are saying that if you want to come to Europe you should stay clear of Denmark because we have a lot of problems with migrants and... we don't need any more in Denmark," party spokesman Martin Henriksen told AFP on Monday.

Danish ministers say the plan is no different from restrictions on existing Danish residents, which require them to deplete their savings to less than 10,000 kroner, before they can claim welfare.

The Copenhagen government is attempting to ward off a similar refugee influx seen in neighboring Sweden, where around 150,000 people had applied for asylum this year by the end of November, compared to just 18,000 in Denmark.

On Monday, Sweden's state railway operator said it planned to cut some rail services to Denmark in a row over identification checks.

mm/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)