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Police criticised after teen forced to strip

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14:13 CEST+02:00
Police officers at a station in southern Sweden have been criticised by the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern, JK) after they forced a 16-year-old girl to strip naked.

The Chancellor, one of Sweden's most senior law officers, slammed the officers in Lund for routinely forcing young people in their custody to strip, and also noted the lack of documentation regarding the case.

The teenager was at a party in Lomma, near Lund, which was raided by the police in February last year. She was tired and had fallen asleep when the police came to the apartment. Because they suspected that she had taken drugs, they took her to the police station.

At the station, the police forced the girl to strip naked. In the room, there were two female police officers, but there was a glass window in the door into which all who passed by could look. According to the girl, several male police officers were outside.

She then provided urine samples, which showed that she had not taken drugs, which she was under suspicion for.

She was offended by by her treatment and reported the matter to the Chancellor of Justice.

"The Chancellor of Justice has questioned why she had to undress completely naked and the fact that it was carried out in a room where other people could observe her through a pane of glass in the door to the room," wrote JK administrators Anna Skarhed and Katarina Berglund Siegbahn in their ruling. "If there was a suspicion of drug possession, that would have warranted a physical search in the form of a clothing inspection."

They added, "Undressing more or less was routine when it came to suspicion of minor drug offenses. The Chancellor of Justice has reason to believe that this has happened in this case. The Chancellor assumes that the police authority in Skåne will review its procedures with regard to physical inspections and body searches for minor drug offenses if it has not already done so."

Skåne police reported that the clear glass pane has since been replaced by frosted glass.

A preliminary investigation of misconduct began after the girl reported the treatment. The girl, however, changed her mind and asked that the case be closed.

"In this case, two colleagues did not follow the right procedures," Skåne police general counsel Mårten Unbeck told The Local. "It will not be necessary to change normal procedures. I have to read the JK decision first. We did wrong in this case. We don't normally do this."

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