Malmö police report leadership for ‘incompetence’

Around 40 police officers from Malmö have submitted complaints to the force’s senior safety representative in Skåne charging police leadership for “weakness, incompetence, and bad planning” in its preparation preparation the weekend's demonstrations.

Malmö police report leadership for 'incompetence'

The frustration began a street party held Friday in conjunction with the European Social Forum in Malmö ended with stone throwing and vandalism.

According to the complaints, the police on the street were told to take off their protective helmets in instead wear their regular uniform hats, which meant that police leadership endangered officers, writes the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

The complaints relate to “a case of workplace injury” and will now be taken up by the senior safety official for the Skåne police, Kaj Svensson.

Chief Commander Håkan Jarborg-Eriksson told the newspaper that it isn’t the leadership which decides whether or not the helmets are removed. Rather, the decision is taken by the field commander on the scene.

The police had consciously chosen a wait-and-see approach during the European Social Forum.

Several officers wanted to do more than was authorized during Friday’s disturbances.

Jarborg-Eriksson theorizes that frustration related to the perceived lack of action taken by police may be the motivation behind the complaints.


Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.