Dozens questioned in Nordic child porn raid

Police in four Nordic countries carried out a join action on Tuesday morning to break up a suspected child pornography ring.

Around 80 people in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland have been taken in for questioning and many have confessed to their suspected crimes, according to a statement from the Swedish National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen).

“The raid has been under preparation during the entire spring in cooperation with our Nordic colleagues and eleven local Swedish police authorities. The preparations have worked very well and we’re going to continue with our Nordic cooperation,” said Stefan Kronqvist from the IT-crimes section of Sweden’s National Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen), in a statement.

Around 20 of the suspects live in Sweden and are under investigation for downloading and uploading images featuring child pornography.

Rikskriminalpolisen spokesperson Varg Gyllander confirmed for the TT news agency that one person was currently being held in Sweden.

“But I can’t say any more because the operation is ongoing,” he said.

Police confiscated computers as a part of the raid, but will only know more about the number of images and film clips featuring child pornography once technicians have had a chance to examine the computers.

“We’ve been working in the same way we usually do when dealing with child pornography. What’s different is that this time we took action together with police from other Nordic countries,” said Gyllander.

The raid, known as Operation Viking, was a joint effort by police in the four Nordic countries and is surrounded in strict confidentiality to ensure the suspected paedophiles couldn’t destroy important evidence.

In addition to images of child pornography, police are also looking for Scandinavian children who have been subjected to sexual molestation.

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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.