Sweden’s police chief ‘quits’ after row

Sweden's police chief 'quits' after row
Sweden's top police officer, Stefan Strömberg, is to resign on Friday, according to reports. The National Police Commissioner's reported resignation follows harsh criticism of him from the country's regional police chiefs and disagreements with the government.

The news has yet to be confirmed by Strömberg or an official source, but Thomas Bodström, chairman of the parliamentary Justice Committee, said he had “received information that National Police Commissioner Stefan Strömberg has been forced to resign.

“The information is not from official sources, but it is very reliable,” Bodström said.

Dagens Nyheter had earlier on Thursday evening also reported that Strömberg was resigning.

Strömberg has been summoned to meet Justice Minister Beatrice Ask on Friday. The two also met on Thursday, and Ask has cancelled a trip to a ministerial meeting in Brussels in order to continue her discussion with the National Police Commissioner.

The meeting between Ask and Strömberg was called at Ask’s request. One subject up for discussion was an article by the country’s regional police chiefs in which they expressed dissatisfaction with Strömberg.

The commissioner told SVT on Thursday evening that he and Ask “are speaking about the criticism in this article, but also how we can develop the police in the future and how the police can work to ensure that good methods are used that lead to better results.”

Asked whether Ask still had confidence in him, Strömberg said:

“We have spoken about these things and will talk about them tomorrow as well. This is what these conversations are about.”

Asked again whether he had Ask’s confidence, he said: “I believe we have a fairly similar view of what needs to be done in the Swedish police.”

Strömberg has called for more centralization of the Swedish police, with a “Swedish FBI” to fight organized crime. He admits that there are differences between his view and that of the government in how the police should be structured.

In their article in Dagens Nyheter on Thursday, three representatives of Sweden’s regional police chiefs attacked Strömberg and the National Police Board. They wrote that there was a lack of confidence in the National Police Commissioner and accused the National Police Board of incompetence.

“The National Police Board’s repeated demands for us to deliver lacks any kind of encouragement or insight into how we work. The dry and inflexible message leads instead to sap us of will and motivation,” wrote Anders Westlund, Björn Engblom and Charlie Magné, chairmen of the organization representing senior police officers in Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Skåne.

Strömberg earlier in the day rejected the criticism.

“I know more about police work than people say,” he said.