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Let the army help fight terrorism – report

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Sweden should allow its military to step in and help the police in any battle against terrorists and terrorism, according to a government commissioned report published on Wednesday.

“There are situations where the security police could, to a greater extent than today, require collaboration with other public bodies, especially the armed forces,” according to the report, which was put together by a special commission appointed by the government late last year to look into the issue.

The 113-page study proposes the creation of a new act “regulating the support of the police from the armed forces and other suitable governmental bodies”.

“The police may, when needed, request support to prevent, investigate or in other ways intervene in such crimes that are covered by the act … on punishment of terrorist crimes, and that are especially difficult to handle,” it suggested.

The proposal is expected to meet resistance in Sweden, where the military has been banned from any involvement in civilian crime-fighting since troops in 1931 were called in to help disperse a worker protest march in Ådalen in the east of the country. They shot into the crowd, leaving five people dead.

“The incident in Ådalen must however be judged in the light of its era,” the report stated.

“To use the incident … as grounds for not permitting the armed forces to carry out specific, qualified tasks to support civil authorities such as the police seems today both antiquated and irrelevant,” the commission stated in the report.

After handing the report over to Justice Minister Thomas Bodström, head of the commission Olof Egerstedt insisted to reporters that the proposal was in no way radical.

The military already assists the police “in the Nordic countries, excluding Iceland, and it also happens in the Netherlands, Great Britain, and to some extent France”, he said.

Sweden is not considered at high risk for terror attacks, but in light of the numerous deadly attacks around the world over the past four years, the report emphasized that the Scandinavian country “in no way is immune to terrorism”.


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