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CRIME

Sweden to take DNA from all crime suspects

The Swedish government plans to introduce a law which will make it considerably easier for the police to take DNA tests. From next year, anyone held on reasonable suspicion of a crime will be required to provide a sample of their DNA.

All types of crime will be covered by the law, irrespective of the punishment awarded.

Even people who do not fall into the “reasonable suspicion” category could be required to take a DNA test under certain circumstances. In such cases, the crime must be one which would result in a jail term – but only people who are found guilty of a crime which results in more than a fine will be recorded in the DNA register.

“This is going to give the police and prosecutors the tools to clear up significantly more crimes than today,” said Justice Minister Thomas Bodström after presenting the proposal to the Social Democrats’ parliamentary group on Tuesday.

“It also strengthens the legal certainty of judgements – people who are wrongly suspected can quickly be eliminated from an inquiry,” he said.

The Swedish police will have the right to take a DNA sample even if it is not necessary for a particular crime investigation – for example, if a person has already confessed to a murder.

Thomas Bodström dismissed the notion that a DNA register was a threat to an individual’s personal integrity.

“They shouldn’t commit a crime – then they won’t end up in the register,” he said.

The new proposal will mean that everyone who commits an imprisonable offence will find themselves in the DNA register.

Currently, the details of 3,000 people who have committed a crime which resulted in a jail term of more than two years are stored on a register. Police also have a database of 10,000 details of ‘biological traces’ which were found at crime scenes.

The new law will come into effect on 1st January 2006.

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The Local/TT

CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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