Study to assess values of Swedish police cadets

The attitudes and values of Swedish police cadets are to be assessed before and after they complete their training, following a number of noteworthy racist comments by police in recent months.

The evaluations will be carried out as part of a Nordic research project which includes the participation of Sweden’s three police training academies, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reports.

Around 300 students who have just begun their training will participate in a preliminary study in order to test the questions which will be asked.

The larger study is due to start during the autumn term of 2010.

The research project comes following a number of incidents in the past year which appeared to reveal a certain level of racial insensitivity within the Swedish police force.

In February, three Malmö police officers were reassigned for calling young people in the predominantly immigrant district of Rosengård “blattajävlar”, an ethnic slur which translates roughly into “damn coloured people” or “damn immigrants”.

A short time later, it was revealed that a police training course in Skåne in southern Sweden included names such as “Neger Niggersson” and “Oskar Neger” (Negro).

More recently, a commander from Landskrona in southern Sweden is at risk for a reprimand after she described a suspect as a “neger”.

And an investigation has been launched into an incident in which a Stockholm police officer is reported to have said, “It’s nice to have a chance to smack a negro” in connection with the carrying out of a deportation order against an African man, reports SvD.

“You get equally upset and saddened every time these sort of things happen. We can’t do more than work toward our goal of zero-tolerance,” Marina Rydholm, head of human resources with the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), told the newspaper.

All cadets who enter police training programmes in Solna near Stockholm, Umeå in northern Sweden, and Växjö in south central Sweden, will participate.

Police students from Oslo in Norway as well as from Tampere, Finland will also be included in the study.

“We want to see what it is they are after, their backgrounds, views of the profession, how they view society’s basic values, and how those develop over time,” Harriet Jakobsson Öhrn, the head of operational development at the Solna police academy and member of the study’s steering committee, told SvD.

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