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POLICE

Man dies after high-speed police chase

A 22-year-old man died when he crashed his motorcycle in Stockholm late Wednesday following a police chase at speeds of up to 250 kilometres/hour.

Despite the 22-year-old’s untimely death in hospital, the police have no plans to review their course of action.

A 17-year-old female passenger survived with almost no physical damage when the motorbike crashed into the rails at a road works, according to the police.

The motorbike was spotted travelling the wrong way up a one-way street and through traffic lights in central Stockholm on Wednesday night. An unmarked police unit gave chase.

“Then it went fast, but not extremely fast,” said police spokesperson Diana Sundin.

The chase continued in the direction of Trollbäcken in Tyresö municipality south of Stockholm. The motorcycle then turned and the 22-year-old headed back towards the city, but then he changed direction again and continued on the E4 motorway towards Södertälje.

As speeds escalated to an extreme level the duty commanding officer order the chase to be called off.

“It went terribly fast, over 250 kilometres per hour,” Sundin said.

Police patrols in cars were instead deployed at exits along the motorway, and the motorcycle was followed by a helicopter overhead.

“But that also had trouble keeping up,” Sundin said.

The bike turned off the highway in Södertälje. At the local hospital the rider turned his motorcycle once again and headed back into Stockholm, once again on the E4.

“Then the commanding officer ordered that no police units be visible at all. Only the helicopter was allowed to follow the vehicle,” Sundin said.

The accident occurred at 10.15pm by the Årstalänken tunnel. The motorcycle smashed into the railings at a road works just before an underpass.

The first police unit arrived within three minuted, followed by an ambulance 12 minutes later, together with a fire engine.

Both the 22-year-old driver and his 17-year-old passenger was transferred to the trauma unit at the Karolinska Hospital in Solna, where the driver was pronounced dead, according to Sundin.

“But he was alive before his departure to the hospital,” she said.

The police had no information on Wednesday night as to why the driver had violated traffic regulations. There are pans to interview the 17-year-old girl at a later date.

There are however no plans to review police procedures during the chase, despite the fatal crash.

Diane Sundin argued that the police could have in no way contributed to the extreme high speeds.

“The helicopter had been flying so high that nobody could have seen it,” she said.

Both the 17-year-old, and the late 22-year-old man, are resident in the Stockholm area.

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PROTESTS

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.

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