Viking Squad

The Special Unit of the National Police Commissioner (Icelandic: Sérsveit ríkislögreglustjóra), more commonly referred to as the Viking Squad (Icelandic: Víkingasveitin), is the police tactical unit of the Icelandic Police.[2]

Counter-terrorism military unit
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Special Unit of the National Police Commissioner
Sérsveit ríkislögreglustjóra  (Icelandic)
Active 19 October 1982 – present
Country  Iceland
Agency Icelandic Police
Type Police tactical unit
Role
Motto Með lögum skal land byggja
“The land shall be built by laws”
Common name
  • Viking Squad
  • Víkingasveitin  (Icelandic)
Structure
Operators 46[1]
Notables
Significant operation(s)

The unit is in many ways modeled on the Delta tactical unit of the Norwegian Police Service with which it conducts many exercises, both in Norway and Iceland. The unit has 46 police officers.[1][3]

The National Police Commissioner has published that the squad will be fully manned at 55 police officers by 2010. Iceland has no standard military, thus some functions performed by military forces in other nations may be performed in Iceland by units such as the Viking Squad.

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The unit is tasked with several duties, including but not limited to:

  • Security of the state and state officials
  • Security of foreign dignitaries
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Support of local police forces

Additionally, the unit is designated to protect important installations in wartime, and it is often involved in exercises with Norwegian and Danish military special forces. During the stay of the U.S. military forces in Iceland, it conducted anti-special forces training operations and was responsible for its defences against terrorism.

The unit has five main squads:

  • Alpha Squad: A bomb squad specialising in bomb disposal.
  • Bravo Squad: A boat squad specialising in operations on sea and water, diving and boat operations.
  • Charlie Squad: A sniper squad specialising in sniper entries, and close target reconnaissance.
  • Delta Squad: An intelligence squad specialising in anti-terrorism intelligence, surveillance, and infiltration.
  • Echo Squad: An airborne squad specialising in aircraft hijacking operations, parachuting, and surprise assault operations, along with port security.
Officers practising rifle shooting in 1940.

Although the first Icelandic law enforcement officers, the nightwatchmen of Reykjavík in the eighteenth-century, were heavily armed with morning stars, the armed capabilities of early twentieth-century police were very limited. However the threat of a communist revolution and later invasion by foreign militaries forced the Icelandic government to rethink its position on police weaponry.

As a response to the forming of an illegal communist paramilitary unit the Icelandic police acquired Krag-Jørgensenrifles, Royal MM34 and Royal 7.65 mm pistols, and in late 1939 officers of the Capital Police were to form the officer corps of an Icelandic military defence force. This re-arming was spearheaded by Prime Minister and former police chief Hermann Jónasson and Agnar Kofoed Hansen Chief of Capital Police and officer graduate from the Danish Army. This military force never went from the training grounds as it was still training on 10 May 1940, the day 740 Royal Marinesinvaded Iceland.

During the war, Agnar did his best to continue acquiring weapons despite the unwillingness of British occupational forces to permit such imports. Nonetheless Reising .45 calibre sub-machine guns and Federal Laboratories grenade launchers were bought from the US along with tear gas.

The forming of a military defence force from the militarily-trained portion of the Icelandic police did not continue after the war, as it was eventually decided that the US Armed Forces would continue to defend Iceland from military threats while Icelandic police concentrated on internal threats from communist revolutionary forces.

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