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.