• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Police defend warning for solo women in northern Sweden
Östersund in northern Sweden. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

Police defend warning for solo women in northern Sweden

The Local · 8 Mar 2016, 15:41

Published: 08 Mar 2016 08:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Mar 2016 15:41 GMT+01:00

Officers in Östersund first advised women not to walk around on their own at night, during at press conference on Monday, explaining that there had been at least six reports of violence against women in the area since February 20th.

"Now the police are going out and warning women against travelling alone in the city. We have seen a worrying trend," regional police chief Stephen Jerand told Swedish media.

"This is serious, we care about the protection of women and that is why we are going out and talking about this."

He explained that the recent reported crimes included an attempted rape in the centre of Östersund over the weekend. Police later added that they were also investigating the alleged molestation of a 10-year-old girl at a bus station.

However the force's recommendation that women should avoid being alone at night swiftly prompted criticism in Sweden, a nation that prides itself on promoting gender equality.

"The solution can never be to not go out because of such a warning. We have very many women who work in home and social care at night for example. What are they supposed to do?" the city's mayor Ann-Sofie Andersson told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

The politician, who represents the government's Social Democrat party at a regional level, said she wished police had told her about their intentions before issuing the warning.


Östersund in northern Sweden. Photo: Wikicommons

Meanwhile Johan Hedin, legal affairs spokesman for one of Sweden's opposition groups, the Centre Party, argued that the move could end up scaring women.

"It's wrong if it calls on women to adapt to the criminals. It risks leading people the wrong way, if the victims must adapt to the perpetrators," he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the police chief told the TT news agency that he felt some of his comments had been misinterpreted, as the story continued to spread rapidly on social media.

"We are not limiting anyone's freedom. This is purely factual information. We went out with warnings and some have interpreted this as that we forbid women to be out in town and that's completely wrong."

READ ALSO: 'Sex attacks and fascism are not the new norm in Sweden'

The move by police in Östersund comes amid debates over whether the nation's decision to take in record numbers of refugees last year is linked to recent reports of sexual assaults in the Nordic country.

Story continues below…

In January, police in Stockholm admitted that they had covered up mass allegations of abuse by asylum seekers at a music festival, arguing that they had sought to avoid far-right sentiment being spread in the city.

Later that month around 100 masked men went on the rampage in the capital, attacking immigrants and promising to protect Swedish citizens from violence carried out by foreigners.

However official statistics suggest that less than one percent of crimes in Sweden concern incidents involving refugees. Meanwhile, a number of international media have been accused of exaggerating the dangers faced by women living in Sweden.

 

 

 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Hand in your invalid Swedish bills to the bank by the end of the month.

Sweden moves to battle high rate of drug deaths
Sweden has among Europe's highest drug-induced mortality rates. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/TT

Sweden has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU despite its zero-tolerance policy. The government wants to find out why.

Human skeleton found on abandoned farm in Sweden
Police at the farm in Hörby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect human remains found in a well on an abandoned farm in rural Sweden belonged to a man who was murdered.

The Local List
You'll never really be Swedish without trying this weird food
Kebab pizza. It exists. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Local's intern Saina Behnejad on her love-hate relationship with Swedish cuisine.

Sweden's Stenson pulls out of Barclays with injured knee
Henrik Stenson at the Olympics this summer. Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Henrik Stenson's injury throws doubt on Europe's chances at next month's Ryder Cup.

The Local Recipes
How to make this delicious Swedish crayfish pasta
Swedish crayfish pasta. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Combine the Swedish favourite of crayfish with pasta to impress with this simple yet tasty dish.

Drunken Christmas goat burner risks four years in jail
The Christmas goat looks at the fireworks and contemplates its future. Photo: Mats Åstrand/TT

His singed eyebrows were a dead giveaway.

Joe Biden: 'Sweden has shown great leadership'
Joe Biden, left, and Stefan Löfven. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

US Vice President Joe Biden praised Sweden for "punching way above its weight" in the global refugee crisis.

Nepal's Sherpas rebuild Swedish mountain paths
Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Photo: Stockholms Universitet

Nepalese sherpas have been called in to improve hillwalking safety on Sweden's highest mountain Kebnekaise.

23 people tricked into renting the same Malmö apartment
Sweden's housing market is notoriously tricky. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

"I have never felt so stupid and so conned."

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,350
jobs available