‘Curfews and police’ can curb Rosengård fires

A prominent Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) Riksdag member on Wednesday called for targeted curfews and more police in Malmö’s Rosengård neighbourhood just hours before a communal refuse facility in the area burned to the ground.

'Curfews and police' can curb Rosengård fires

Appearing on a debate programme on TV4, Johan Pehrson, the Liberal Party’s judicial policy spokesperson, said that “we ought to consider” restricting young people from being out on the streets if they are know to have been involved in disturbances which have plagued the neighbourhood in recent months.

He added however that any curfew shouldn’t be general, but instead directed at young people known to have taken part in vandalism, rock throwing, and other threatening actions against police officers or fire fighters.

“Otherwise it can really be stigmatizing and counterproductive,” he said.

Perhson emphasized that his suggestion differed from those put forward by local Malmö politicians from the Moderate and Sweden Democrat parties, who last week proposed general curfews for young people in order to stem the persistent occurrence of deliberately set fires and disturbances in the Herrgården area of Rosengård.

Just before 2am on Thursday morning, a few hours following Pehrson’s comments, firefighters were called to put out a fire at a neighbourhood garbage collection facility which police believe to be a case of arson.

A Liberal Party working group proposed last autumn that new rules be introduced allowing Sweden’s social services to take action, even if it as against parents’ will. The group also suggested that parents be made to pay the cost of damages caused by their children.

Perhson also explained on TV4 that police chiefs across the country are concerned that the unrest in Rosengård could spread to other parts of Sweden over the summer.

He proposed that the government urge local police authorities to assign officers to trouble spots in an effort to prevent things from spiraling out of control.

“I think that the government should consider initiating a national police offensive on order to counter the situation which is beginning to be serious, really serious, in parts of Rosengård in Malmö,” Pehrson said on TV4.

“And let’s make sure that there are so many police in place that it’s next to physically impossible to set these sorts of fires.”

But Malmö police chief Ulf Sempert is critical measures which resort to “water cannons and curfews”.

“It’s those sort of measures which haven’t done any good anywhere,” he said on TV4.

Sempert instead wants to continue with integrated neighbourhood policing with cooperation from residents as well as other municipal services.


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.