Unusually busy night for Sweden’s police force

The start of the holiday season for much of the country was marked with an unusually high amount of criminal activity according to the police.

Unusually busy night for Sweden's police force

Yesterday marked the start of the summer holidays for many, but it was not to be a calm evening of celebration for police forces around Sweden. A series of assaults of varying degrees of violence and outbreaks of drunkenness were reported in several areas, several of which occurred in the capital, reports news agency TT.

In Bro, north of the Stockholm, a man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after a stabbing incident involving another man in his 20s while a couple of people were taken to hospital with injuries from broken bottles, after fighting broke out in Åkersberga and Hässelby.

Stockholm was not alone though. In Värmland, western Sweden an 18-year-old man died as the result of an alcohol related hit and run accident. The incident occurred in Lysvik, close to Torsby where a 23-year-old was later arrested on charges of manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Elsewhere, police reported a stabbing incident in Alingsås, western Sweden, and across the land the were reports of several incidents of drunken behaviour as many schools celebrated the final day of term.

However, Ivan Åslund, a senior police officer in Västerås was quick to defend the students.

“You could put the blame on them , but in over 20 cases, only one student was arrested. Young people have been partying but they have been looking after each other,” he said.

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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.