Crime on display at Danish Police Museum

CNC report from Copenhagen
Added On February 23, 2013

In Copenhagen, the police museum shows crimes in various ways, providing unique educational opportunities for the local people.

Among the displays, a painting exhibition of murdered women has aroused  debates in the Danish society.

The Danish police museum is placed in a former fire station close to downtown Copenhagen. Here, visitors can get to know how police work and see some of the material evidence used in the worst crimes committed in the country.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) FREDRIK STRAND, Director, Danish Police Museum
"This is the Danish Police Museum. It is a part of the national police. The museum is kind of unique in Europe. There are not a lot of police museums in Europe. There are some police museums in US, but not in Europe."

There are some limits of what the museum can set on displays. The victims and their families need to be protected in some way. Therefore it takes time to prepare.

While recently, things are changing.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) FREDRIK STRAND, Director, Danish Police Museum
"We try to take a modern approach regarding police history. So now we take modern cases and use them in our exhibition to make the police history more, you could say:  more actual, give it more life when the audience visits the museum. I think it is important to show some of the modern police history. If you don't show the modern history, you don't get an impression of how the police work today, so that makes it important to show some of the artifacts from the modern cases." 

One of the most notorious criminals of modern times is the convicted killer Peter Lundin. He committed his first murder was the killing of his mother. That happened in the United States when he and his parents lived there. Later, he was released and expelled from the US. Then he returned to Denmark.

Later he met the single mother of two sons, Marianne. After a fight between the two, Peter Lundin killed her and her sons with an axe and then cut them with this grinder and threw the remains in different waste dumps. He was later sentenced to prison for life.

The display of the material evidence from the case leads to a debate--- whether a museum should show things like that.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) FREDRIK STRAND, Director, Danish Police Museum
"It makes a great impression on some of the audience, but it is my impression that the audience finds it interesting and important to see the artifacts from these cases because they are important in the Danish police history."

After that, the Danish Police Museum once again made the headlines with an exhibition of paintings of women murdered within the last decades. The museum was criticized for not asking the kin's permission and finally removed them from the walls.

SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) FREDRIK STRAND, Director, Danish Police Museum
"Of course it was a great ethical problem: Do we have to get permission from the next of kin when we made this exhibition. Some of the families didn't want the pictures shown on this museum and therefore we chose to take them down, but it is a great ethical problem because also we have the freedom of speech, if there is no legal problem then, in my opinion, it should be ok to show these pictures."

Despite the criticizes, the museum believes that hold shows like that are the jobs they should do --- to teach the public by using the realities.