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Police struggle with hate crimes caseload

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18:04 CEST+02:00
Police at Stockholm's new hate crimes centre are struggling to cope with the number of cases reported since it opened its phone lines in June. The five police officers tasked with running the centre - fewer during the summer holiday season - have so far been swamped with over 80 cases.

"Our case load is too high and we don't have time for all the reports," said project manager Annika Lindahl.

"The idea was for our investigators to look into the alleged hate crimes on site, but with the amount of work we have now it is just not possible," she added.

Speaking at a seminar connected to the opening of the Pride festival, she expressed her intention to request additional resources from the county police chief.

Pending an evaluation in October 2008, hate crime centres are eventually to be established nationwide rather than just in the capital.

When registering a crime report, Stockholm have been obliged since February to answer the question: "Could this crime be anti-religious, xenophobic or homophobic?"

"We were surprised by how many cases actually turned out to be hate crimes," said Lindahl.

According to a survey carried out by the Living History Forum, only four of the 74 alleged hate crimes reported in 2004 eventually led to criminal charges.

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