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OFFBEAT

Nude Swedish cops back in action

A group of nine newly trained riot police who posed naked with service weapons in their hands at a graduation party have been allowed to return to active police service.

It has not yet been decided whether the officers will return to their special tactical units. But having reevaluated the situation, the Västra Götaland police force does not consider it as serous as it did when the men were assigned to desk duty at the beginning of February.

“When we reassigned them we didn’t have all the cards on the table,” said Erik Nord, commander of field duty police officers in Gothenburg, to the TT news agency.

The presence of a male stripper at the party held in a rented cabin near Gothenburg, as well as pictures of the naked police officers, prompted an investigation and the reassignment of all officers involved.

The nine officers, none of whom were women, had just finished supplemental training to serve in special tactical units and included a number of seasoned veterans. All were aged between 30 and 40 years old.

Upon seeing what they deemed as questionable behaviour, the instructors who had trained them during the six-month course put a stop to the celebrations.

During the party, officers began carrying out a sex game which was meant to dramatize some sort of homosexual relationship.

The game featured a male stripper, as well as pictures of the lower half of the officers’ bodies as they held police-issued sub-machine guns in their hands.

“We now have a full overview of the sequence of events. It was a joke aimed at the instructors. During the party, a scenario was played out for them that was intended to be shocking and knock them off balance,” said Erik Nord.

The photos of the men’s naked lower bodies had been taken earlier as part of a training exercise.

“Maybe they didn’t display the most fabulous sense of judgment, but having got a better picture of things it at least doesn’t seem quite as foolish as earlier,” said Nord.

He added that the officers involved deeply regretted what had happened.

Nord did not wish to say whether the men would be permitted to return to their special tactical units.

“But we trust them to the extent that they can perform full regular active police duty.”

PROTESTS

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.

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