The Norwegian Police Security Service
was established in 1937. A subdivision of the Oslo
police force, it was intended to coordinate surveillance activities on a national level. As German
troops invaded Norway on April 9, 1940, these activities were discontinued, the service was dissolved and all its archives were destroyed.
After World War II, the Norwegian authorities reestablished the security service in accordance with the regulations dating from 1937, and in 1955 the goverment decided to defer the responsibility for the security service from the Oslo Chief of Police to a new position as Head of the Norwegian Police Security Service. However the security service itself continued to be a branch of the Oslo Police Force. Only in 1980 did the security service become a separate organization directly submitted to the administration of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police.
The official Norwegian name of the organization is “Politiets overvåkingstjeneste”, abbreviated “POT”. The Service's headquarters, known as “Overvåkingssentralen”(The Norwegian Police Security Service Headquarters), share premises with the Oslo Police Force. The Norwegian Police Security Service Headquarters is responsible for supervising all security measures taken on a national scale, and also for the implementation of such measures in the Oslo region (in other words, Oslo Police District is exempt from security service responsibilities).
There are 54 police districts in Norway. There are Police Security Service offices in all 54 districts. For the purpose of the security service, the police districts are organized into seven regions. In each region the Security Service is directed by an Assistant Chief of Police (i.e., a “politiinspektør”).
Director General Per Sefland is the current (As of september 2001) head of the Police Security Service. He assumed this position on August 15, 1997. The head of service is appointed for a period of six years.
The Police Security Service Headquarters is situated in Oslo. It is divided into departments, each of which is headed by an assistant chief of police.
POT has changed name. The new name is Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste, The Police security service (PST). Otherwise, the organisation is unchanged.