The boy had been wanted by the police and was to have been taken into youth detention. At 2.20 am on Saturday he was stopped by a police unit in Kumla and taken into custody in Örebro.
Less than two hours later, at 3.57 am, he was found dead in his cell. The cell was fitted with a small toilet room and it was there that the boy hanged himself, said Torbjörn Carlsson, the information officer at Örebro police.
According to the first reports, the boy appeared to have used items of his own clothing to hang himself.
“But the forensics officers need to confirm this,” said Carlsson.
The suicide has been reported to the police’s internal investigation department in Västerås, which is to send officers to look into the incident.
Torbjörn Carlsson said that currently no police staff are under suspicion for having committed any procedural errors.
He had no information suggesting that the 17 year old was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he took his life, and said that the boy was watched regularly during his confinement.
“He was checked once every fifteen minutes. In this case I believe they decided to check him more frequently,” said Carlsson.
Carlsson added that it is uncommon for people to die in police custody – which was confirmed by the National Police Board.
“Last year there were three deaths in police custody,” said Linda Widmark, press secretary at the Board.
Those were due to consumption of alcohol and drugs.
However, it is more common for people to die in prison or when they are on remand waiting for trial, when they are under the supervision of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service.
Between the years 2000 and 2004, 28 people died in remand jails around the country. Of those, 23 were recorded as suicide. During the same period, 42 people died while serving prison sentences, of which 9 were suicides.