Examiner charged over driving licence bribes

A driving examiner from Gothenburg has been indicted on bribery charges. The woman is alleged to have accepted half a million kronor ($57,000) in exchange for approving driving licences for 70 test candidates.

According to charges presented on Wednesday at Gothenburg district court, the woman’s driving licence bribery trail stretched from from 2004 until she was discovered in February last year.

Four men have also been charged with bribery offences for acting as middlemen between the woman and the driving students.

The woman at the centre of the case has also been indicted on people smuggling charges. She is accused of taking payment of 50,000 kronor to marry an Albanian man in order to facilitate his move to Sweden.

This is the first time the National Anti-Corruption Unit has ever had to deal with a case involving a driving examiner.

“The driving examiner position is unique. Decisions are taken alone and without any checks. Where and how a person has driven is not registered anywhere. There are no cameras and there is no GPS,” prosecutor Nils-Erik Schultz told news agency TT.

Schultz said he would not be pressing charges against any of the students believed to have bribed the examiner.

“We’re not sure who they are,” said Schultz, adding that though the woman had cooperated with investigators she had only been able to identify a handful of students who had paid her bribes.

The woman has admitted to certain bribery offences, though not the more serious charge of aggravated bribery.

Anders Borglund, head of the testing department at the Swedish National Road Administration, said checks surrounding the issuing of driving licences had become more rigorous since the bribery allegations first surfaced.

The administration had undertaken a more supervisory role, he said.

“There have also been more people reporting bribery attempts to the police. This shows that there are driving examiners who are honest.”


Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.