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Police "unmotivated" to fight crime

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15:37 CEST+02:00
Swedish police have copped a load of criticism from a new study which reveals half the force takes little or no initiative in fighting crime.

Researcher Stefan Holgersson, who dedicated eleven years of his life to the force, interviewed 2000 former colleagues and officers and studied reports from the country's 21 police authorities as part of a doctoral thesis.

As reported in Thursday's Svenska Dagbladet, Holgersson concluded that many newly trained and ambitious police officers soon lose their drive when confronted with the inefficiencies of the organisation.

While some individuals deal with 60 investigations in a year others are struggling to handle around 30 inquiries. Holgersson also found that the work rate of officers plummets as they get older. As Thursday's Dagens Nyheter put it, "local policemen have given up".

Holgersson states a series of factors which contribute to the constabulary's passive attitude, including dissatisfaction with management, difficulties with the legal system and widespread negativity within the force.

"There is a lot to do to make the police force more effective," Holgersson told SvD. Nowadays, fifteen minutes' worth of work on the street can lead to two hours of paperwork," he added.

In response, the National Police Board's Seppo Wuori said he was not surprised by Holgersson's findings. "On many counts we recognise these things," he said.

"We have been all too incident-driven, waiting for things to happen. Now we must work more with crime prevention."

According to Justice Minister Thomas Bodström, individual efforts of the police must be reviewed in greater depth.

"Above all, it's about rewarding police officers who perform well and trying to find out why others don't perform so well," he reasoned.

"The police are already able to manage serious crimes, such as murder. But with better organisation burglary and other less serious offences can surely be combatted," added Bodström.

While they may lack the motivation to catch petty thieves, Swedish police will soon be more visible on the streets.

Police patrol cars are getting a makeover in a bid to increase safety for both officers and other traffic at large.

A fluorescent flash of blue and yellow will adorn the fleet from this autumn.

The decision - and lack of colour ingenuity - was presented on Monday by the National Police Board which estimates it will take six years until all police cars throughout the country receive the re-spray.

But, they say, it's more than a slick paint job, and the material has ten times more the reflective capacity than what is presently used.

The new markings are in line with European standards said the National Police Board in a press release and will increase public visibility of police cars in daylight.

Assuming, of course, that officers can be bothered to turn up for work.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, Aftonbladet

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