Police break car chase as fuel runs dry

A police unit was forced to give up the chase of a getaway vehicle in northern Sweden as it ran out of fuel, with officers unable to fill up as they had only a charge card for a petrol station 20 kilometres away.

Police break car chase as fuel runs dry

“While in this case the operation was ultimately successful, it would be good if in emergencies you could fill up with fuel at any petrol station,” police officer Louise Jakobsen argues in a report of the incident.

Jakobsen described how her unit was in pursuit of a speeding car from Nordmaling towards Umeå when it became clear that their vehicle, which runs on ethanol, was about to run dry.

Another vehicle involved in the chase informed other police units that they had caught sight of the offending vehicle and called in support, but Jakobsen’s car was unable to continue to the destination due to a lack of fuel.

“We were thus unable to help the other unit,” she said.

Furthermore when the police officers decided to stop in Hörnefos to fill up they found that the car only had an OKQ8 card and they were thus forced to drive a further 20 kilometres back to Nordmaling to be able to buy fuel.

“One could argue that perhaps it is the unit’s fault that there was no more than half a tank in the car but we had been involved in a similar chase earlier in the evening and had not had time,” said Jakobsen.

While the operation was ultimately successful, the officer suggests that in the future the police should be able to use the closest petrol station, regardless of operator.

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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.