A total of 384 students have begun this year’s police programme. 192 are at the National Police Academy in Solna and the remainder are at universities in Umeå and Växjö, according to the newspaper Svensk Polis.
The highest proportion is in Växjö, where, for the first time, women outnumber the men on the police training programme: 53% of students there are female.
“We’ve had a steady increase in the number applying to the police course,” said Marie Andersson, who is the head of recruitment at the National Police Board.
“In January 2002, 3,300 applied, of which 34% were women. In August this year, the applications had almost doubled and the number of women had increased to 36%.”
People with ethnic and cultural backgrounds other than Swedish are also turning to the force for a career. In August this year, these accounted for 15% of applications, compared to 13% in 2002. The rise is thought to be down to high profile ad campaigns directed at minority groups.
But while the National Police Board is happy with its progress in increasing the representation of minorities, Marie Andersson acknowledged that this is just a start.
“With the choice we have, I think we’re succeeding, but it’s the long term influence that counts. Our big challenge is to take these groups all the way,” she said.