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OFFBEAT

Many nightclubs lack licence to dance

Revellers frequenting venues where music is played are best advised to consult with the landlord before making any sudden movements. Should the bar lack a special dancing licence the owner may wind up in trouble with the forces of law and order.

Nightclub Debaser recently opened a second premises at Medborgarplatsen in central Stockholm. With five bouncers hired to keep an eye on proceedings, the owners thought they had done more than enough to ensure the security of their paying guests.

But then one night a police patrol came to have a look around. Once inside the officers were confronted with the unmistakable sight of young people engaged in the act of dancing.

“We were told that if we have dancing in our club we have to have lots more security guards; one for every hundred customers,” Debaser’s Stefan Telford told The Local.

Irritated by what he refers to as the “stupid dancing permit”, Telford takes the example of the club’s alcohol-free matinée shows, which cater for a younger audience.

“If we have 800 kids there, we have to pay for 8 security guards. That means we make a loss,” he said.

Telford adds that the police view Medborgarplatsen as a problem area. Although the club has not had any problems with its customers at the new venue, police were insistent that a dancefloor necessitated additional security.

Debaser received its licence last week, but there are many other clubs around the country that could face difficulties if they do not get their dancing papers in order.

“If somebody begins dancing at a place that doesn’t have a dancing licence, the landlord is obliged to immediately turn down the music and stop the dancing,” police spokesman Christer Ohlin told newspaper Södermalmsnytt.

Until recently, however, Stefan Telford was not aware that his club required a dancing licence. And he is not alone.

“Some people maintain that an alcohol licence includes the right to so-called spontaneous dancing. But that is simply not the case,” said Christer Ohlin.

For safety reasons police conduct regular spot checks to ensure that nobody is dancing without their prior knowledge. But Ohlin admits that it can be tricky to differentiate between dancing and other forms of rhythmic motion.

“It is difficult to say exactly what constitutes dancing. It is a bit fuzzy and a question of interpretation. But if there is a presumption that dancing may occur on the premises then there has to be a dancing licence,” said Ohlin.

POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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