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POLICE

Sharp hike in Swedish money laundering cases

The number of money laundering cases reported in Sweden more than doubled last year, a new report shows.

Sharp hike in Swedish money laundering cases

According to figures from Sweden’s Financial Police (Finanspolisen), a division of the National Criminal Police’s intelligence division, there were 13,048 cases of suspected money laundering covering a total of 9 billion kronor ($1.2 billion) in 2008.

The figure represents an increase of 116 percent from the year before.

Reports filed by banks also increased from 1,310 cases in 2007 to 7,232 last year.

“It’s an indication that the banks have implemented better procedures and have also built intelligent detection systems,” said Thomas Palmberg, vice head of the Financial Police, to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

According to Palmberg, financial intermediaries have also stepped up their reporting of suspected crimes. It’s also easier for police to uncover suspicious transactions on the internet sooner than previously.

However, companies in cash-intensive industries such as auto dealerships, real estate brokerages, and casinos, continue to be less forthcoming with reports of suspected money laundering.

“Of course people try to minimize the use of case in many areas which reduces the risk for both money laundering and robberies. But I’m sure there are considerably more cases of money laundering in cash-intensive industries than what is reported,” said Palmberg.

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PROTESTS

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.

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