Readers of the southern Swedish newspaper reacted strongly to reports that police in helicopters were secretly taking photographs of potential young criminals.
The Swedish Police Force now intends to investigate the legality of its own methods.
During the autumn police in Skåne established a special command unit in reaction to a spate of robberies conducted by young moped riders and their passengers. According to the head of the robbery commission, Willy Persson, moped-related crime has recently taken on epidemic proportions.
The special unit consisted of a police helicopter, six motorbikes and four plain clothes officers. All moped riders and passengers had their photos taken and were subsequently added to a register of potential thieves.
“Taking photographs is a tried and trusted method that we use for investigations. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Willy Persson, who led the operation, told Sydsvenskan.
The regional public prosecution office will decide whether Persson is correct in assuming that it is acceptable for police to treat youths in such a manner for the sole reason that there are two of them travelling on the same moped.
Last week’s operation resulted in the arrest of two 13-year-olds, who were stopped while attempting to make off on their moped after robbing another youth. Willy Persson wants more action taken to put a stop to moped-related crime.
“We have to put our foot down and get total commitment for the next four years. Not just a year at a time. There are 25 of us on the robbery commission. It’s like pissing in the Mississippi. It is naive to believe that we will achieve any major changes,” said Persson.