Police chief aims to save boys from life of crime

Police chief aims to save boys from life of crime
Stockholm county police chief Carin Götblad has recommended the creation of special municipal task forces to coordinate efforts from police, schools and social services to steer Sweden's youth away from criminality.

“I suggest that the key actors – social services, schools and the police – are given a legal responsibility to support the parents of young people,” Götblad, who is leading a state inquiry into the matter, wrote in an article in Dagens Nyheter on Wednesday.

The Stockholm police chief has been tasked with developing ways to identify young people in the risk zone and to propose strategies to prevent their recruitment into criminal networks.

There are around 5,000 young people in Sweden who are considered to constitute the recruitment pool for criminal groups, Götblad said. The group is primarily made up of boys living in deprived residential areas in the major cities.

“We have a lot of knowledge about the backgrounds and risk factors around young people who develop a criminal lifestyle. It primarily concerns boys and young men living marginalized in the most deprived areas,” Götblad wrote.

Resources should be focused on these groups, for the sake of the boys, but also “for a safer society,” the police chief urged.

Götblad has also suggested the creation of Projekt Pojke (Project Boy) to address social problems, psychological ill health and stereotyped gender roles among young men and boys.

“These boys are particularly vulnerable. Schools are not formed according to their needs and there is today almost no labour market for young, uneducated men,” she said.

Projekt Pojke would offer work experience and free-time activities and work to change values and attitudes that encourage criminal activity, the police chief said, adding that companies and the business community should be encouraged to become involved.

Karin Götblad proposed that the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) should be tasked with, in collaboration with other bodies, produce a manual for developing a systematic method for identifying exposed groups and for leading individuals away from a life of crime.

According to Brå statistics, men account for 80 percent of those suspected of crimes.

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