• Sweden's news in English

Swedish police to publicly identify suspects

TT/Stuart Roberts · 28 Aug 2009, 15:51

Published: 28 Aug 2009 15:51 GMT+02:00

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The pictures will be taken from surveillance cameras and the police hope that the general public will help investigate and identify criminals.

“It is common that people who commit crimes are captured on film. Now we will give people who have information about a crime the opportunity to help solve the crime,” Skåne police’s information director, Lars Förstell, told news agency TT.

But the initiative has attracted criticism from numerous quarters. The risk is not just that the police publish pictures of innocent people, but moreover that there are consequences for the ability of convicted criminals to rehabilitate themselves in society, according to professor of criminology at Stockholm University, Jerzy Sarnecki.

But his major criticism is the tendency for the police to acquire more and more power.

“We have a system that increasingly restricts fundamental freedoms and rights. It is in some ways taking small, small steps towards a police state that I am actually really concerned about,” Sarnecki said.

On Friday, Stockholm police also threw their support behind the initiative.

“I am really convinced that this model will become nationwide,” police spokesperson, Kjell Lindgren, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

Story continues below…

“I can’t say when, but that it is coming is obvious. Before the end of this year we will certainly see more authorities publishing surveillance pictures. Whether or not Stockholm is one of them I dare not say,” he said.

Anne Ramberg, general secretary of the Swedish Bar Association (Advokatsamfundet), argues that innocent people may suffer anxiety as a result of this method. She writes publicly that the pictures are a further sign that more societal surveillance leads to “an insidious shifting of the boundaries”.

TT/Stuart Roberts (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:09 August 28, 2009 by antoniolgj
That'll be very interesting indeed.

So we'll be able to see the faces of those mysterious "youths", we so much read about.

Looking forward...
17:10 August 28, 2009 by Harding00
I think it's a great idea. The US has been doing things like this for a long time now, and if it helps solve a crime faster and bring people to justice (and thus get them off the streets and from committing more crimes), I think it is a great!
17:24 August 28, 2009 by Beynch
Good. Can't wait!
17:29 August 28, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Will this be the end of "vague" news reports?

One could only wish.
17:32 August 28, 2009 by Craptastical
Perhaps Efterlyst will be worth watching.

There's nothing quite as useless as a video from a security camera with the face blurred out.
19:23 August 28, 2009 by eZee.se
"There's nothing quite as useless as a video from a security camera with the face blurred out. "

Kind of defeats the purpose, doesnt it?

What next? music without sound or just the lyrics scrolling past? politicians without lies? oops!
20:48 August 28, 2009 by ronik
Here is yet another example of that quintessential Swedish condition: the Lutheran moral anxiety. Some Swedes seem so possessed with doing the right thing that they can't manage to do anything right. Only in Sweden would the police be reluctant to publish surveillance footage not for the fear of undermining their investigation but because of the potential hysteria of people like Prof. Sarnecki. The risk of momentarily defaming some poor innocent caught on tape either in the wrong place and time or on the wrong tape is far outweighed by the benefits of gathering evidence. And if Prof. Sarnecki is more concerned about the long-term rehabilitation of convicted criminals, he seems to be oblivious to the priority of solving crimes and arresting those same criminals.
21:49 August 28, 2009 by lingonberrie
This new event should enable the silencing of 90% of the radical comments on this forum.

Perhaps the original intent of this site will return and sanity will once again serve both the native Swedes and those productive and retired ex-pats who chose to come to Sweden and who willingly and happily absorbed the Swedish culture.

Sweden and the native Swedes are as happy as the ex-pats that they did so.
22:03 August 28, 2009 by Coalbanks
I think it's a great idea. The US has been doing things like this for a long time

And we all know how well that works to reduce crime in the USA (& Canada) where perpatrators have been known to broadcast videos of themselves in the act! Good luck.
23:11 August 28, 2009 by ameribrit
Just so long as the Swedish police etc don't get carried away with the surveillance thing like the Brits have.
04:44 August 29, 2009 by Greg in Canada

Publishing photos of criminals leads to lots of arrests here in Canada. That TV show "America's Most Wanted" has brought in lots of arrests as an example. J

Academics like Sarnecki need to spend some time outside of the ivory tower and more time living in the real world.
08:40 August 29, 2009 by hilt_m
this is a good idea, it will be like the show crime stoppers in Australia
09:17 August 29, 2009 by Texrusso
"Suspects" is the key word used in the article. It is always innocent until proven guilty. So, what if the guy was eventually found not guilty. Who would pay the price and compensation?? I think it should be done on a case by case bases and with high Ethics. For example An Armed robbery case, were suspects faces were captured in robery. And some sure cases. Were police still thinks there is a slight chance the suspect might be innocent they shouldn't. But then men in uniform are mostly not objective. Its difficult to find a balance as these men in Uniform are humans and can be biased sometimes. SO, I say, don't give police too much power. NO NO NO TO THIS!!!
10:24 August 29, 2009 by zooeden
"There are consequences for the ability of convicted criminals to rehabilitate themselves in society" (professor of criminology at Stockholm University, Jerzy Sarnecki)

Professor has to be at least 150 years old to think this way!!!
13:23 August 29, 2009 by here for the summer
Here's how this looks in one county in Florida

14:08 August 29, 2009 by Kaethar
@ zooeden: Watch the movie Boy A.
14:56 August 29, 2009 by double concerto
Common sense at last in Sweden, I can't believe it!!! But at the moment a complete and utter waste of time the police taking any criminals to court as a result of this. The so called criminal justice system at the present time is non existent.
20:42 August 29, 2009 by Hedley
It is better to free 100 guilty people than jail an innocent!

"Suspect" is someone who has enough evidence that can be linked to a crime, but still being innocent, since he/she has not been condemned to prison.

The only ones needed to be posted are people who scape from prison and ultra hard evidence suspects required for criminal investigation, otherwise it can obstruct justice and it will make guilty people do high quality mess.
20:50 August 29, 2009 by DamnImmigrant
Harding00 - "I think it's a great idea. The US has been doing things like this"

As I understand this, the authorities will ONLY be showing images of suspects that they cannot identify. They will NOT be naming names! I see NO problem with asking the public to help identify someone in a picture!

In America, it goes SO MUCH farther than just showing a picture and asking the public to identify the individual. In the US, claiming First Amendment rights, and the right of the PUBLIC to know, they publish everything about a suspect! The papers go out of their way to get as much dirt on a suspect so the public will know just how bad this person is!

The end effect is that your publicity has ALREADY proven you guilty LONG before you even get to court!

I like the way Sweden keeps the names out of the public view until the person is found guilty!
13:18 August 31, 2009 by Beynch
This is all good! Only problem is, like in the U.S., power hungry laaayywwwers -- which are nothing more than vultures with a law degree -- stand ready stand ready to charge, and scream discriminaaaaation at the first sight of criminal's face in the paper. Let's see.
22:05 September 4, 2009 by Bisting
My oh my. The Swedes have not had an original idea in 50 years, everything from TV programming to Corporate greed has been copied from USA. Why not copy some of the good stuff from over there, like 3 strikes and you're out. Third felony puts you in prison for the rest of your life Literally. Sweden is the only country I know where you can kill people and avoid punishment. Wake up! Wether it is youth gangs or hardened criminals...punish the bastards. As for Prof. Sarnecki, castration might be a good idea.
06:19 December 7, 2009 by spotlightaudio
Great Idea!!!

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