A controversial new law empowering Danish police to search asylum seekers and strip them of cash and valuables has yet to raise any money at all.
Denmark’s parliament at the end of January passed its so-called “jewellery law” in the face of worldwide condemnation, with even the UN’s refugee agency saying that the measure “beggars belief”.
Under the law, which came into force on February 5, police can search asylum seekers’ clothes and luggage.
Police are also allowed to confiscate cash and valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner (£1,000), although sentimental items such as family portraits and wedding rings are exempt.
“It is zero,” Lars Andersen at the Danish National Police, said of the amount raised in an email to the Telegraph. “The status is still that there have not been any cases where the new legislation has given rise to the seizure of money or valuables.”
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen from the Left-wing Red-Green Alliance told Metroxpress that she was not surprised by the lack of action.
“I think it is obvious that this law is a signal more than anything else,” she said. “I think that…the government are quite satisfied with this because wasn’t the primary goal to tell the world that Denmark is not a nice place to be as a refugee?”
Photo: Rex Features
Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has described the act containing the measure as “the most misunderstood bill in Danish history”.
Under the guidelines, individual police officers have the discretion to assess the “sentimental value” of items other than wedding rings.
The guidelines advise them not to seize objects “associated with a particular personal story that means the object cannot be replaced by another one”.
Police are encouraged to ask asylum seekers to declare any cash or valuables themselves and to look for “visible valuables” before starting to pat down new arrivals’ clothing or search their pockets.
European refugee crisis
Refugees and Muslims have arrived in Europe via illegal routes
Proportion of migrants who are Muslims from Syria
Syrian refugees being housed in Lebanon – a country 100 times smaller than Europe
One in five
Proportion of people in Lebanon who are refugees
1 in 122
According to the head of the UN refugee agency, one in 122 people is a refugee
Proportion of migrants who land in Italy and Greece, then get as far as Calais
Illegal migrants were stopped from entering Britain by UK Border Force officials in 2015
15 per cent
Proportion of female refugees from Syria who are pregnant in Turkey
Data as of November 2015