Drunk driving Swedish police rarely fired: report

Drunk driving Swedish police rarely fired: report
Despite 55 serving police officers being caught drink driving over the past five years, only one has lost his job, the Metro daily reported on Thursday.

“If there is a disorder and a treatment plan, we generally do not decide on dismissal according to established practice,” general counsel Lotta Gustafsson of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) told the newspaper.

The number of police officers convicted of drunk driving has sharply increased in the last two years. Of the 216 police officers who were prosecuted from 2005 to 2010, one-quarter faced drunk driving offences, according to statistics compiled by the Metro.

Of the 55 police officers who were convicted of drunk driving, one-third of the cases involved aggravated drink driving, often accompanied by short prison sentences.

In several cases, the officer were also involved in crashes with other vehicles and also neglected treatment plans.

However, only one officer has lost his job through the police’s staff disciplinary board (Polisens personalansvarsnämnd – PAN), which expresses its opinions according to the Swedish Labour Court’s (Arbetsdomstolen) practices, the report showed.

The sole policeman who lost his job was twice suspected of driving drunk through two police checkpoints in Gothenburg and was sentenced for a total of 11 different crimes.

Other police officers were allowed to keep their jobs due to reasons such as that they were not considered to have substance abuse problems and had relatively low blood alcohol content levels when they were pulled over, the report said.

Among the incidents included in the report included drunk police officers driving into ditches and garage doors and one was involved in a highway crashes heavily under the influence of alcohol. All of the officers involved kept their jobs.

All the convictions involved incidents which occurred while off-duty.

When asked if there is a risk that police officers would abuse the practice of not being fired after getting caught for the first time, Swedish Police Union (Polisförbundet) chairperson told Metro, “I believe and hope that they will not.”

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