Security police demand new stalker law

The threat to famous people in Sweden posed by stalkers is worse than previously thought. That is the conclusion of a survey carried out by Säpo, the security police, and now they have proposed tougher laws to deal with the problem.

After the murder of Anna Lindh in September 2003, the government focused on the threat posed by psychologically disturbed people. More recently, the justice committee asked Säpo to assess the size of the problem and to suggest methods of dealing with stalkers.

“The scale of the problem is very large, especially concerning the cabinet members, the prime minister and the crown princess,” responded Säpo.

The organisation has suggested that new laws, based on those designed to prevent violence against women, are introduced.

According to Sydsvenskan, Säpo has identified 408 people, including politicians, sports stars, celebrities and members of well-known finance families, who are in a high risk category.

“Stalking clearly occurs more frequently than the cases which are reported to the police,” wrote the organisation. “Through our interviews it has become clear that there is an unwillingness to report incidents which fit the pattern of stalking.”

Sydsvenskan noted that the type of people who stalk celebrities such as actors and singers often display symptoms of extreme obsessive love, while those who harass politicians are usually more aggressive. Säpo is now particularly concerned with the security of politicians in the 2006 election.

“Our ambition is that all politicians will be able to run an election campaign where they feel safe and secure and don’t need to worry that they will be the targets of serious crime,” said the head of Säpo, Klas Bergenstrand.

Sources: Sydsvenskan, Aftonbladet