The number of requests has increased more than three-fold in the past eight years.
“There has been a massive increase and it feels almost as if every second employers was to have a database record. This applies to as good as all groups of employees,” said Solveig Johansson at the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) to the trade union newspaper TCO Tidningen.
In 2003 133,100 requests were made for criminal records while in 2010 this figure had leapt to 363,900 with 2011 forecast to be a record year.
Since 2001 there has been a requirement for all those working in schools and children’s daycare to submit a record from the criminal register covering sex offences and serious violent crimes.
Employers from other sectors are however entitled to request the full criminal records of applicants, which would show all offences, such as shoplifting or speeding.
Solveig Johansson told TCO Tidningen that the Police Board regularly fields calls from concerned job-seekers.
“They ask whether there is something they can do to remove the information in the criminal register, but it is not possible,” she said.
The boom in requests is explained by the fact that more employers have become aware of the possibility of running a check on job applicants and also due to a greater concern over criminal activity in society.
The recent revelations by Swedish Olympian Patrik Sjöberg that he was abused by his high jump trainer while a youth has brought the question of background checks on those in positions of responsibility into focus.