Police officer gives Rosengård youths the finger

A police officer has been re-assigned and reported for making insulting gestures with his middle finger at youths in the suburb of Rosengård in Malmö.

The officer’s superiors fear giving the gang of youths the finger could have jeopardized months of patient work to develop positive relations with local residents in the troubled suburb, according to local newspaper Sydsvenskan.

The incident occurred on Friday when two off-duty police officers visited Skåne police department’s station in the Herrgården area of Rosengård.

When the officers left the area by motorbike they passed a gang of youths who had assembled on the other side of the road. The police officer then proceeded to wave his middle finger in a provocative gesture.

The officer’s gesture was witnessed by several of his colleagues at the scene.

“It is indefensible. A police officer just does not behave like that. We have a sensitive situation in Rosengård where we have worked hard over an extended period of time to develop positive relations with residents. There is now a risk that this process has been set back,” said senior police officer Bengt-Åke Malm to the newspaper.

The police officer concerned has now been re-assigned to an internal post and has been reported.

The accompanying officer has been removed from service in Rosengård to avoid the risk of provocation.

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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.