Violence against women tops list of police crimes

Acts of violence against women accounted for more indictments against off duty police officers than any other crime in the last decade.

Violence against women tops list of police crimes

Almost a third of all indictments faced by officers between 1998 and 2008 related to the alleged assault of wives, ex-girlfriends or former partners, according to a review carried out by newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

In all, 48 cases dealt with either assault or the related crime of gross violation of a woman’s integrity (grov kvinnofridskränkning). The majority of cases in recent years have led to convictions.

“We are the first to admit that this is a difficult situation. We must not hide the issue,” said Liljemor Melin-Sving, deputy chairperson of the Swedish Police Union, to the newspaper.

In the ten year period covered by the review, 30 police officers have been charged with common assault – the second most common indictment for off duty police officers – followed by drunk driving in third place, shoplifting or theft in fourth and child pornography in fifth place.

Among the population at large, traffic offences accounted for the largest number of indictments from 1998 to 2008. This was followed by shoplifting or theft, and possession of narcotics for personal use. Assault cases in which men were the victims came in ninth on the list, while assault cases in which women were the victims constituted the 13th most common crime.

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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.