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Police struggle with hate crimes caseload

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.

ALMEDALEN 2022

Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden. 

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