Police “take women’s crime reports less seriously”

Men and women are treated differently when they report crimes to the police, according to an investigation by Swedish Radio.

Men who report crimes to the police have a significantly greater chance of having the incident progress further along the legal process than women, reported the SR programme Kaliber, which has analysed all police reports to a certain number of police stations around the country during two weeks in 2003.

Every third report made by a man led to the police presenting preliminary investigation papers to the prosecutor, compared to one in four reports made by women.

The pattern was the same even when serious violent and sexual crimes were excluded.

“You have found a form of discrimination which we actually didn’t know about,” said professor of ciminology, Jerzy Sarnecki, to Kaliber’s reporter.

Ethnicity also affects the likelihood of an investigation being taken further. When the person reporting a crime has a foreign-sounding name, things progress more slowly. Swedish men have twice as much chance of having their case enter the judicial process as foreign women, according to the research.

“Whatever way you look at the figures, you can see the differences. Swedish men are taken most seriously by the police, and immigrant women are taken least seriously,” said Jerzy Sarnecki.

TT/The Local

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