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This Danish Police Squad's Job Is To Play Fortnite With Kids

Anyone who has ever wanted to play video games for a living has another career path to consider. Getting paid to play "Fortnite" isn't just for YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and professional gamers anymore. In Denmark, the police founded a special unit in 2022 to patrol game spaces. Members spend their time playing games and engaging with the community.

In addition to "Fortnite," the squad plays other popular online titles, including "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" and "Minecraft." Its mission is to watch for abusive behavior and fraud and take action to stop it. It also seeks to be available to talk to children online who may need a trusted authority figure to confide in or get support from.

This unit operates openly and even has its characters wear special uniforms in "Minecraft", basically acting as a patrol and community outreach squad — just in a digital realm instead of in the real world. The unit has been active for less than a year and there doesn't seem to be any data available on its impact yet but it is a novel approach to policing internet spaces.

Patrolling game spaces

This policing strategy is unique in how open it is. Unlike online law enforcement programs often reported on in the United States, this is not an undercover operation and players are aware that they are playing with police officers and can even interact with them. This also breaks from traditional efforts in its focus on abusive speech.

Unlike in the U.S., Denmark has greater restrictions on speech, with laws defining and prohibiting hate speech. This gives the police a role to play in monitoring online spaces. Where internet law enforcement in the United States tends to focus on sex trafficking and child abuse and necessarily requires a more secret approach, Danish police can openly watch for and respond to offensive speech in popular games.

Some have speculated that programs like this are also an attempt to make contact with young people as a recruitment tool (per PC Gamer), similar to how the U.S. army tried to use video games like "Call of Duty." While the Danish police don't appear to list that as an objective, it's not outside the realm of possibility.

It's still very early in this new experiment of policing through gaming and it remains to be seen how effective it will be. For now, it's an intriguing new development and may inspire more gamers to dream of a future where they can get paid to play online all day.