Women warned as police hunt serial rapist

Twelve police patrol units are hunting a serial rapist who is now suspected of three rapes or attempted rapes in Örebro in central Sweden in the last few days.

“We are looking for a relatively young man of 25,” said Anders Wallin of the Örebro police told the TT news agency.

Police in Örebro have now classified an assault and battery that took place on Sunday night as an attempted rape.

“Given the previous night, there is some risk that he may come again, or in our case remain outdoors,” Wallin said.

On Sunday night, a woman in Örebro was attacked When she entered her home, a man unknown to her forced his way into the apartment and assaulted her.

Police initially believed it was only an assault, but have now classified the incident as an attempted rape.

“We think that it was the goal of the attack. Part of the description and methods point to it being the same perpetrator,” Wallin said.

Overnight, 12 patrol units in Örebro searched for the suspected serial rapist.

“We used a lot of extra resources overnight. There are parts of the description that match each of the three independent events from the last few days. We cannot rule out that it is the same man,” Wallin said.

The description is consistent for the attempted rape and rape that occurred on Sunday morning. According to Wallin, police now have “a pretty good” description of the man.

When asked if women should be careful when going out, Wallin said, “I’m not going to issue such a warning. However, we have discussed it, and as it stands right now, people should at least be observant. I do not want to make recommendations at this time.”

In recent years, there have been at least a dozen unsolved rapes and attempted rapes in Örebro. According to police, they involve two different men, each of whom committed several assaults, whose descriptions match.

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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.