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Police fraud unit closed due to high workload

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Police fraud unit closed due to high workload
Stockholm police in Kungsholmen, December 2008
16:40 CEST+02:00
A special police unit in Stockholm combating share scams was closed last week by the chief safety ombudsman due to a large influx of cases.

Four Stockholm county police officers are working on five large investigations involving nearly 2,000 victims. About another 200 cases remain a high priority in the so-called balance.

Detective superintendent Bernt Isaksson is the director of the group and confirmed that the workload is very high.

"I have nothing to do with the closure, but I have described our situation. And it has led to this," he said.

The closure of a police unit by the safety ombudsman is a rather unusual event.

"I have worked 40 years at this firm and do not know the suspension of any activity," said Isaksson.

The unit has now resumed its work, but the problem with the extreme workload has not yet been resolved.

Rickard Johansson, assistant county criminal investigation director in Stockholm, pointed out that it is unusual for the safety ombudsman to stop police activities.

"We are currently examining this in full and will do everything to resolve it in the best way," he said.

Lars Ericson, a negotiator for the police authority in Stockholm, agreed that action must be taken to improve the work environment of the affected group. He said that an action plan has been submitted to the safety ombudsman and he expects continued communication on the matter.

"However, it has failed in this case. As to whose fault it is, one can always have discussions about that. We received the notice about the safety ombudsman work suspension quite suddenly. And it was totally unexpected on our part since we had established an action plan that we thought would work," said Ericson.

The employer must now report to the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) about the measures that are planned. Ericson expects a decision about the work in a couple of weeks and does not want to discuss the action plan further before then.

"However, it is mostly about easing the work burden so that we can allocate the work in a different way," he said.

When asked whether it may involve a supply of new resources, Ericson added, "It is by no means impossible. However, that does not mean it will be so."

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