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Malmö firefighters demand police escorts

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17:04 CEST+02:00
Firefighters in Malmö in southern Sweden are demanding police escorts on calls. The firefighters have had enough of threats and violence in some of the city's rougher areas.

After being attacked by stones on a recent call, they are threatening not to take calls to Rosengård without a police escort. They are also demanding shatterproof windows and surveillance cameras on their vehicles.

Bertil Ahlgren, a spokesman at Jägersros fire station where two of the men worked, told TT that their work situation was "completely unacceptable".

The firemen were attacked twice last week during calls in the city's Rosengård suburb.

In one case a youth pelted a fireman with stones, while another fireman was attacked by a barrage of raw eggs. Attila Jensen, district chief for the Jägersros rescue services told TT that they view this very seriously.

"One shouldn't need to find oneself under a stoning attack when one is out performing one's job".

Attacks on rescue services staff and police have increased in recent years, but so far there is no central data recording the incidents. Kenneth Carlsson, a spokesman for the firefighters' union described this trend as nasty.

"We would like to see a central register created so that we could get an overview of all the incidents".

The rescue services in southern Sweden have now agreed to put in a series of measures to improve fire fighter's working conditions, including stronger cooperation with the police, reinforced vehicle windows and the possibility of surveillance cameras.

Other more long-term measures include the recruitment of firefighters with immigrant backgrounds.

The rescue services have also put in almost three million kronor ($496,500) into a three-year research project at Malmö College to raise awareness and understanding for the reasons behind these type of attacks.

"The point is to create a better dialogue between the authorities and certain population groups", Per Olof Hallin, project manager at the Malmö College, told TT.

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