Confidence in police at new low

Swedish crime victims’ confidence in the police has fallen to a record low, according to a new survey on people’s attitudes towards the public services, but Justice Minister Thomas Bodström has dismissed the survey as "crackpot".

The Swedish Quality Index (SKI) interviewed people who have had close contact with public services such as the police, health service and education service.

Dentists were given high points by the survey, with private dentists scoring higher than the state-run Folktandvården service. Patients gave dentists a score of 75 on a scale of 1-100.

Victims of theft and violent crime gave the police a score of 49.4. This was the second year in a row that confidence in the police has dropped. Crime victims have lower expectations of the police than users of any of the other public services, the report says.

“This is extremely serious and indicates that their service simply isn’t working,” said Jan Eklöf at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Increased dissatisfaction with the police is due to the fact that too few crimes are solved, Eklöf argues.

But Justice Minister Thomas Bodström slated the report, saying it was comparing apples and pears.

“This is a crackpot survey. You can’t compare pulling out a tooth to investigating a crime,” he said.

The police have always done badly in SKI’s annual reports – they have had the bottom placing since the mid-nineties – although this year’s score of under fifty percent is a new low.

“I am the first to admit that the police should be better, but I don’t set much store by comparisons such as this,” Bodström said to TT. He pointed to a series of surveys by the SOM Institute at Gothenburg University, which often show high levels of public confidence in the police.

But Stefan Strömberg, the National Police Commissioner, said he too the report’s results seriously.

“It is regrettable that we don’t get better scores,” he said.

“This is something that we are working on, and we hope to get better results in the future.”

Strömberg said the police’s capabilities for solving ‘everyday crimes’ were improving rapidly, and efforts in crime prevention would also have an effect.