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.


Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.