The company’s decision follows a growing threat to both staff and guests in its Filmstaden and Royal cinemas.
“This is not a general requirement in Swedish cinemas, but in Malmö we have escalating problems with disturbances, robbery and threats,” said Steve Södergren, who is head of the chain.
Södergren told Svenska Dagbladet that gangs have been going into the auditoriums and sitting in the wrong seats in order to cause trouble and throw things at the rest of the audience.
While banks, post offices and shops may use security cameras without special permission, other organisations, including cinemas, must have a permit from the local council.
In 2003 an application from SF Bio for cameras in Stockholm cinemas was refused. The company was told to find other ways of dealing with the problem because to introduce cameras in a recreational area was thought to be “particularly sensitive”.
In the same year, the Västra Götaland council approved the introduction of cameras in a cinema in Gothenburg but the Chancellor of Justice’s appeal against the decision was upheld.
But the situation in Malmö is, as SF Bio put it to SvD, “in a class of its own where trouble and violence is concerned”.
The city’s police have had to cut short screenings on at least three occasions and even children’s matinée performances have been disrupted.
The company says it wants to put cameras in the ticket office and foyer areas and submitted copies five police reports in support of its application.
A decision is expected after the summer holiday.