WED—September 30—1 PM (EDT)


MoreLectures + Literary

In contrast to the United States, the Nordic countries have their own unique approaches to law enforcement that have evolved out of histories with different racial and economic politics. As calls for police reform continue to be debated at every level of government in the U.S., three panelists from the Nordic countries join us to discuss policing and police reform in those countries: Lars Holmberg (Professor of Law, JUR Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Law,  University of Copenhagen), Kimmo Himberg (Senior Researcher, the Police University College, Tampere, Finland), and Margrét Valdimarsdóttir (Assistant Professor of Police Science at the University of Akureyri). With ASF Fellow Vanessa Barker (Associate Professor of Sociology, Stockholm University and Director of Border Criminologies) as moderator, they’ll discuss Nordic policing systems, public attitudes towards police, and the ways in which debate has spurred reform over the years. They will contrast Nordic and U.S. policing policies as well as approaches to weapons use, training, and deployment.

They’ll also discuss how to regain and maintain trust between the police and the communities they serve, current issues facing the police in the Nordic region, and reform within the police structure in the past ten years.

Please send audience questions ahead of the discussion to or in the chat during the event. Select questions will be chosen for a Q&A following the conversation. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above.

The discussion will later be available to stream on YouTube.


Vanessa Barker is Professor of Sociology at Stockholm University and currently serves as co-Editor in Chief of Punishment & Society with Alessandro De Giorgi. Her research focuses on questions of democracy and punishment, borders, mobility, welfare states and immigration, complex inequalities, the criminalization and penalization of migrants, and the role of civil society in social change. She is the author of Nordic Nationalism and Penal Order: Walling the Welfare State and The Politics of Imprisonment. She has been a visiting professor at the University Oslo, visiting scholar at the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford, a fellow at the Law & Public Affairs Program (LAPA) at Princeton University, and associate director of Border Criminologies. She completed her doctoral degree at New York University, worked at Florida State before moving to Sweden.

Dr. Kimmo Himberg graduated from the University of Helsinki with an M.Sc. and later completed his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry. He has studied Criminal Justice Management in the University of Birmingham, UK. At an early stage of his professional career Dr. Himberg served as a research scientist and head of a laboratory unit at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a governmental applied research organisation.  In 1991 he became the director of the National Bureau of Investigation Forensic Laboratory, the Finnish national criminalistics unit.  Dr. Himberg has held expert positions e.g. with Interpol, UNODC and CEPOL.  He was the chairman of the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes (ENFSI) in 1999-2000 and 2003-2005, and worked for the Council of Europe in Istanbul, Turkey in 2004-2006. Since 2011 Dr. Himberg has been the Rector of the Police University College, the sole police education institution in Finland. He is an adjunct professor in quality management at the University of Helsinki, and was the Chair of the Management Board of the European Union Law Enforcement Training Agency CEPOL in 2019-2020.

Lars Holmberg, PhD, holds the position of Associate Professor of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He has done research in the field of juvenile delinquency and crime prevention, while maintaining a keen interest in policing. For almost 30 years, Lars has conducted extensive studies of community policing police discretion, police reforms in the Nordic countries, police use of force, and police complaint systems. He has been a visiting scholar at American University in Washington, DC, and at School of Criminal Justice at University at Albany, New York.

Dr. Margrét Valdimarsdóttir is an assistant professor of police science at the University of Akureyri, Iceland. Margrét recently received a doctorate in criminology and criminal justice from the City University of New York (CUNY). In her doctoral dissertation, Margrét focused on the contextual effects of racial profiling in the U.S. and the long-term impact of police interventions; specifically, whether race/ethnicity impacted police interventions differently in different types of neighborhoods. Margret´s current work include research on citizens willingness to report crimes to the police.