Swedish police to publicly identify suspects

Police in Skåne in southern Sweden will shortly begin publishing pictures of criminal suspects on the police website, a practice that may soon be adopted all over the country.

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.

“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”.

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime