• Sweden edition
 
Customs 'not focused' on weapons smuggling

Customs 'not focused' on weapons smuggling

Published: 05 Jan 2012 12:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Jan 2012 12:40 GMT+01:00

The Öresund bridge, connecting Sweden and Denmark, has long been known to be an important route for weapons smugglers to get their wares into Sweden. Despite this only seven illegal weapons were seized there over the course of 2011.

"We have been mainly focusing on drugs," said Anders Trägårdh, head of operations at customs in Malmö, to daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The debate about the illegal smuggling of weapons has been given a new lease of life after a recent rise in violent crimes in the Malmö region.

But in the government directive given to the Swedish customs agency they are told to focus on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes in order to combat organized crime in the country, according to news agency TT.

Illegal weapons smuggling isn't mentioned in the directive, reported daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Today customs at the Öresund bridge have around 40 sniffer dogs trained to find drugs, but none especially trained to find weapons, unlike the county police with several dogs that can track both weapons and ammunition at their disposal.

And that weapons are brought in over the Öresund bridge is not news to the local police.

“Skåne is a prime spot for smuggling illegal weapons, so we are under extra pressure. We have asked for tighter regulations on smuggling for a long time,” said Lars Förstell, of the Skåne police to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

At least 200 weapons are being confiscated by the police in Malmö annually - but there has been no direct focus on stopping them from coming in to the country in the first place.

According to the Swedish National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) weapons are primarily being brought into the country from the Balkans in small consignments by land in buses or cars.

Trädgårdh doesn't want to call the fact that the customs only seized seven illegal weapons last year a failure.

"Considering the way the situation looks right now we wish we would have discovered more. But I don't want to use terms like 'failure'. We make a large number of controls and we are very successful when it comes to drugs and alcohol," said Trädgårdh to DN.

The customs will now select likely candidates among the drug sniffing dogs to be trained to sniff out weapons and ammunition.

However, according to experts there has to be more efficient cooperation between customs and police on both a domestic and an international level.

"Swedish authorities won't be able to combat the weapons smuggling on their own, but an extensive international cooperation must be in place," said Gunnar Wärnberg, illegal weapons expert at the National Police Board to DN.

Sven-Erik Alhem, the chairman of the Swedish National Association for Crime Victim Support (Brottsofferjourernas riksförbund) is critical that customs aren't making more weapons discoveries.

"Swedish customs have a key role in this. It is high time for them to change their focus. They should not abandon the drugs search, but I think they need to give weapons a higher priority," he said to DN.

Jenny Sundelin (jcsundelin@yahoo.co.uk)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:47 January 5, 2012 by KungsholmenGuy
It is not up to Anders Trädgårdh to decide if terms like 'failure' are used to describe his work. The facts speak for themselves.

He should be ashamed of himself and resign, or at the very least put something in place in a way that is far more immediate than to now 'select likely candidates among the drug sniffing dogs to be trained to sniff out weapons and ammunition'.
14:27 January 5, 2012 by anniegother
Tobacco and alcohol are customs (TAX- MONEY) issues. Guns and drugs, which are strictly forbidden in this country are a quality of life issue. Having come from the bloodiest, drug infested society in the world (in my opinion), to the relative utopia of Sweden, I beg the Swedish government to wake up and take action NOW! Get some priorities NOW!To those who miss the Swedish days of old, watch out, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Malmö is starting to sound like Oakland, CA for gosh sakes.Customs, please get a new pair of glasses!
14:29 January 5, 2012 by engagebrain
Assuming all smuglling is over the bridge, 200 per annum are seized in Malmo, 7 on the bridge and there is little change from year to year, and all weapons end up in Malmo (unlikely) then 7 out of 207 or 3% are spotted by customs. With more a more realistic assumption, that smuggled weapons spread to the whole of Sweden, customs are finding almost none.
15:41 January 5, 2012 by matona1
puting severe penalties on any holder of weapons is far more important now,people getting killed like a chicken,i was not confortable when none of sweden citIies was not among of most peacefull cities in world,but now i know the reason,very simple NO CAPITAL PURNISHMENTS FOR ANY CRIME
15:45 January 5, 2012 by skogsbo
By the nature of sweden's land and coastline it will always be a little porous, but at the moment its a free for all. I've never seen dogs or searching at the bridge, im sat in CPH now, i bet no dogs get run through the train carriages either.

There was major moaning recently when the danes started checks on german border. The open access / schengen stuff is great for speedy travel but useless for border control.

The EU border is only as stronger as its weakest point of entry, which is pretty week, with countries like albania on eu borders access to anything is easy and only 1 border control away from the freedom of europe!
16:52 January 5, 2012 by zooeden
OK Smugglers, time is running fast, best way so far i through the trains, hurry hurry hurry while its free... And since the dogs are still to be trained that gives you an important advantage!!!

Total FAILURE from Trädgårdh!!! However so far it´s been the bad guys who kill eachother so...
17:44 January 5, 2012 by Borilla
A tunnel is being constructed to Denmark to make it easier to smuggle in guns. What exactly is going on? They move the guns aside so they can seize the cigarettes and booze?
23:38 January 5, 2012 by skogsbo
If the management had any sense, they would mention untrained dogs, just walk any dog around cars, trains, trucks.... Deterents are visual. No one would have known until now.
Today's headlines
Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Good weather could blight Easter traffic
Easter traffic two years ago on the E4 motorway. File: Jessica Gow/TT

Good weather could blight Easter traffic

Traffic experts have cautioned Swedes heading to the countryside for what should be a sunny Easter, warning that the most serious accidents often take place when the weather is clement. READ () »

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia
Jas Gripen jets in flight. File photo: TT

Saab offers Gripen lease to Malaysia

Swedish defence giant Saab has offered to rent out fighter jets to Malaysia. READ () »

What's On in Sweden

What's On in Sweden

Check out what's happening with The Local's guide to the main attractions and events in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö - in association with DoToday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

754
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com