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Swedish PM: Abolish Probable Cause by Sven R. Larson

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Swedish PM: Abolish Probable Cause

In an election-campaign speech on August 14th, Swedish prime minister and socialist Magdalena Andersson explained:

The police must, without probable cause, be able to search every residential storage area, every apartment and every vehicle where members of criminal gangs may be hiding weapons. 

The proposal was covered in a news broadcast by the state-owned SVT and in one of their written news articles. In neither case was the proposal to end probable cause highlighted. 

Columnist Susanna Kierkegaard with the Aftonbladet, a major national news site and daily newspaper, briefly commented:

Among other things, Andersson wants to give the police authority to search residential storage facilities, apartments, or cars, without any suspicion of a crime. This is a strange proposal. To give police such authority would be to put citizens’ legal protection in jeopardy and would risk significantly hurting innocent people in already troubled urban areas. 

Other news outlets downplay the prime minister’s proposal. The Aktuellt i Politiken, which is affiliated with the prime minister’s own social-democrat party, only refers to the termination of probable cause as giving police “expanded jurisdiction” to seize illegal weapons from members of criminal gangs. 

Daily news site and morning paper Dagens Nyheter reports that the prime minister proposed a package of crime-fighting measures, where the probable-cause abolishment is included. They quote the prime minister as saying:

It is of course a matter of integrity, but that has to be weighed against the level of crime and the shootings we now see in Sweden.

According to Statistics Sweden, the government statistics agency, Sweden has one of the highest levels of crime in Europe.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.