New police taskforces to tackle organized crime

In an effort to combat the spread of organized crime in Sweden, police plan to create nine nationally-led taskforces to fight criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and other gang-related criminals.

“This gives us fighting power around the entire country,” said national police chief Bengt Svenson to the TT news agency.

The task forces will be made up of 200 specially-trained police officers, including investigators, surveillance experts, and analysts, and will be centrally controlled by a special operations council.

The council will consist of representatives from the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), the security police (Säpo), the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), customs, the National Economic Crimes Bureau (Ekobrottsmyndigheten), and the Swedish prosecutorial authority (Åklagarmyndigheten).

There will be additional seats on the council, which in the mean time will be strengthened by representatives from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan), and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

When national control isn’t necessary, the groups will instead fall under various authorities under which they are placed, but will remain outside the ordinary chain of command and only address organized crime.

The plan calls for four of the groups to consist of 30 officers each, and be placed within the National Investigation Department (Rikskriminalen), as well as with the county authorities in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

An additional three groups of 20 officers would be placed in Linköping in south central Sweden, and Uppsala and Örebro in central Sweden.

Two groups of 10 police officers each would also be placed in the north of the country in Norrland, but it remains to be decided exactly where they would be situated.

The government gave the police the job of coming up with measures to fight organized crime after several at-times heated discussions about how to more effectively tackle the problem.