Security cameras to be installed on Stockholm’s underground

Monday's SvD announced that Zinkensdamm is to be the first underground station in Stockholm to be equipped with CCTV. Apparently, this is something anxious passengers, fearing for their safety, have wanted for a long time.

Both Zinkensdamm and Norsborg stations have had permits to install CCTV approved since February, yet neither has got the system up and running yet.

“It takes time to get the cameras in place,” SvD explained.

Still, one day in the not too distant future every Stockholm station will have CCTV. Thirty-eight million crowns is to be invested in installing cameras at each of the city’s underground stations.

The move is expected to make stations safer for passengers who, according to SvD “are increasingly anxious”. It is also intended to reduce vandalism and graffiti which costs SL “millions each year.”

In spite of the plans, SvD warned readers it may take considerable time before CCTV is given the go-ahead across the underground network because of the the bureaucracy involved. The fact that each station must apply independently for a permit to film travellers will almost certainly slow things down considerably.

There was more Big Brothering on Tuesday when Stockholm City claimed 14,000 cameras are honed on Stockholmers as they make their way about the city.

What’s more, the latest initiative from Taxi 020 will see the number rise even further.

The company is installing cameras in 700 taxis following an assault on a cabbie last spring in Strommen. He almost died and unfortunately this wasn’t an isolated incident.

“Several violent attacks against taxi drivers,” City explained, “have led the company to install cameras in their cabs.”

Although some Swedes will balk at the idea of having their privacy invaded, Per Lundquist, the marketing boss for Taxi 020, told City that he didn’t see a problem with integrity.

“We know CCTV curbs violence,” he said. “And the pictures will only be used in the event of a violent incident.”

The paper explained that CCTV is becoming more prevalent because of “an increase in crime and a decrease in the cost of equipment.”

Stockholmers who have recently faced a 20% hike in the cost of a monthly travel card may be forgiven for expecting another rise to cover the cost of all these cameras. But Thursday’s Metro reported that while the price of the travel card is only likely to sneak up, people who buy one every month will have the right to claim back 200 crowns as a travel allowance on their annual tax declaration.

Mats Sj√∂strand, the General Director of the tax department, told Metro he was disappointed that the allowance wasn’t higher.

“It’s a shame that Stockholmers will have to put in a claim for an amount that won’t come to more than about 60-100 crowns in cash,” he said.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Stockholm City, Metro

Jon Buscall