The Swedish Police Authority, the national police force of Sweden, will temporarily move 180 police personnel—investigators, analysts, intervention police and technicians—from other regions and its National Operations Department (NOA) to Stockholm, according to a statement on its website.
Stockholm has been experiencing a surge in violent, mainly gang-related crime, which local forces are unable to deal with. The problem is not novel however, as Stockholm Police were already overwhelmed. In fact, a decision had been made earlier this year to transfer resources to the region. To no avail, it seems now, as the situation still calls for more support.
In the statement, Johan Olsson, manager of NOA, says that “we have the option of moving resources from NOA and police regions to where the need is greatest. Over time, our country’s situation looks different. In the past we have had major challenges in Malmö and Uppsala, which had received reinforcements. Now Stockholm needs additional resources to meet the challenges there.”
Chief of Police in Stockholm Mats Löfving, said that the temporary, 6-month transfer “would increase our ability to break the ongoing spiral of violence by firearms in Stockholm. The long-term goal is to reduce the number of vulnerable areas and criminal networks in the region.”
The rise in gang-related violence, which includes the use of firearms and explosives, had been noted in an earlier report which disclosed that at least 44 people had died in shooting incidents this year so far. It concluded that “despite extensive and offensive police work, the trend has moved in a negative direction and shootings and explosions remain at a high level.”
In October, the gun death of Einar, a popular Swedish teen rapper, had sparked national outrage and put the spotlight on gang activity in predominantly immigrant suburbs of large cities. During an interview with the Financial Times, Police Chief Anders Thornberg went so far as to say that “If we don’t talk about this, then it could be a big problem. It’s not a threat to our democracy yet. But if you have certain groups standing outside of society, we will have a huge problem.”
A recent raid conducted by Swedish police further highlighted the need for a response. On Tuesday, December 14th, thirteen residences were searched in addition to seven car searches in the Stockholm region. Caches of weapons, drugs, and cash were found and subsequently seized. Six people were arrested on suspicion of, among other things, intent to murder, aggravated weapon crime, as well as aggravated drug offenses.
Relieved to receive the help, Löfving added that “we look forward to welcoming colleagues from all over Sweden.”
His transfers are expected to start work on January 17th.
Tristan Vanheuckelom writes on film, literature, and comics for various Dutch publications. He is an avid student of history, political theory, and religion, and is a News Writer at The European Conservative.