“The good intentions of community policing are in tatters. We have come to the end of the road,” said the association’s chairman Jan Karlsen.
On Saturday the association presented research showing that three out of every four community police chiefs did not consider that they were able to do a good job in vulnerable residential areas.
At the same time the number of community police officers has fallen in two out of three regions in the last three years.
171 community chiefs of police were interviewed.
According to the Swedish Police Association there is nothing to indicate that community policing will ever work. Despite the government’s investment in 1,000 new officers every year, not enough of them are working in community work.
This, says the association, is due to the different projects of the National Police Board and the local police authorities. One example is the recently presented traffic strategy which requires all outdoor officers to work on traffic offences.
“Obviously it’s important to fight traffic crime too. But you can’t ignore the fact that that work in effect means less time for community police work,” said Jan Karlsen.
He reckons that it would be better simply to scrap community policing in its current form and create an entirely new approach, with clear objectives.
Unsurprisingly, the national police commissioner, Stefan Strömberg, did not agree with the Swedish Police Association’s negative view of community police work.
“A lot of development work is ongoing,” he said, adding that the results would be seen within a couple of years.