Swedish police tackle child sex abuse abroad

Swedish police are working on measures to make it easier to report Swedes who have sexually assault children abroad. Police will soon have a form on their website that will make it easier for individuals who are overseas and suspect that a Swedish citizen has sexually abused a minor.

At the beginning of 2009, police began to take action against Swedish citizens who commit crimes against children during trips abroad. Four full-time employees work with the issue.

Police would like to encourage Swedish tourists to sound the alarm if they suspect that other Swedes have committed crimes against children and youths.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t received very many reports thus far,” Björn Sellström, detective at the the National Criminal Investigative Department (Rikskriminalpolisen), told TT news agency.

He emphasizes that it is also possible to report suspected sexual assault of children abroad upon return to Sweden.

Every year, 4,000-5,000 Swedish citizens purchase sexual services from children under the age of 18, according to a 2008 report by Christian Diesen and Eva Diesen of Faculty of Law at Stockholm University.

Since 1962, Sweden has extraterritorial legislation, which means that a Swedish citizen who committs a crime abroad can be tried for it in Sweden. There have however, only been a few cases where Swedes have been convicted of sexual abuse of children committed abroad.

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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.