• Sweden's news in English

Coffee-drinking cops win 2-year legal battle over parking fines

Caroline Bursell · 26 Aug 2011, 16:05

Published: 26 Aug 2011 16:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The case stems from an incident which took place in July 2009 when the officers stopped off to grab a cup of coffee.

Finding no available street parking, they left their squad cars in a no-stop zone.

When they returned from their coffee break, they found they had been ticketed for parking violations and each of them were subsequently fined 1,000 kronor ($157).

The officers claimed that they had been trained to park their cars to be easily accessible in case of the need for rapid deployment, and should have been exempt from local parking regulations.

After two unfavourable lower court rulings, the officers appealed their case to Sweden's Supreme Court.

In a partial victory for the officers, the high court ordered the case back to the Court of Appeals of Western Sweden, requesting it amend the District Court of Gothernburg’s ruling, having found that the lower court had applied the wrong law.

In it's initial finding, issued in July of last year, the district court ruled that the fine was justified because, although the officers were on duty, parking their cars to grab some coffee was not part of their official duties.

“The purpose of the exception in the traffic regulation codes could not have been to grant a blanket exemption for police cars,” the district court wrote in its verdict.

“Such a thing cannot be shown in the text. The policemen must have been aware of this."

But the officers appealed the case to the Court of Appeals of Western Sweden, which in turn declined to grant them a hearing, prompting the officers to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court concluded, however, the district court had applied the wrong law by implementing a parking fine when the offence should have more rightfully been treated as an administrative issue concerning parking fine regulations.

Following a second review by the Court of Appeals, the district court’s original ruling was thrown out, voiding the parking fines.

Story continues below…

“The police cars in the no-stop zone had not posed any traffic hazards and the officers had acted in a way that was consistent with what they had learned during their training in the profession,” said police inspector Peter Axelsson, according to court documents.

“As policemen on duty they always have the obligation to intervene in case of emergency or when otherwise appropriate. At that time there was no vacant space on the street for police cars,” he continued.

“According to official regulations vehicles may be stopped or parked when they are used by police personnel on duty despite bans issued by local traffic regulations.”

Caroline Bursell (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:58 August 26, 2011 by Valdemaratterdag
It doesn't matter what country you're from, there are always two sets of rules and laws. One for those in power, a different one for those who aren't.
19:22 August 26, 2011 by DAVID T
They could / should have gone somewhere else - I was in burger king in stockholm and this fat piglet came in and went straight to the front and pushed in - I told her to get to the back and she said "but I'm the police" Big deal I said - she was really pissed off but went to the back
19:38 August 26, 2011 by colombianska_tjej
For some reason in all the countries those who are in power believe laws are not for them.
20:18 August 26, 2011 by engagebrain
Did the court suggest how far it was reasonable to expect a policeman to walk when in urgent need of coffee and cakes ?

Perhaps they could stay in their car and order a passerby to bring them coffee and cakes - reducing their emergency response time still further.

Perhaps they could plan ahead and bring cakes of coffee with them at the start of the shift. But then the court would still allow them the right to stop anywhere to consume their food and drink.

This went to the Supreme Court.
20:45 August 26, 2011 by Smokebox
How much tax money was wasted on those lazy cops???
21:57 August 26, 2011 by Abe L
The real guilty party is the local community for not providing sufficient parking opportunities obviously.
07:14 August 27, 2011 by eddie123
hmm... interesting stuff. i once notice a squad car driver after a vehicle that navigated a roundabout through the left so as to beat the traffic congestion. the vehicle was ticketed but the police squad car made the same turn as they went after the offending vehicle. i thought to myself, didn't the squad car also break traffic regulations as it went in pursuit of the initial offender? who gets to ticket the squad car? who gets to call police officers on patrol to order. they speed a lot even when there isn't an emergency - fact.
11:43 August 27, 2011 by Mb 65
This is why the police are loosing all respect. it happens in every country.
12:17 August 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
I bet the jobsworth lap polisen who issued the ticket is being tracked by the whole police force and when he/she breaks the law will be in for a VERY hard time
12:42 August 27, 2011 by local-aam
Police in Sweden are so polite and responsible. However, they are less available for their few numbers. The country needs to use them properly when it is needed. I welcome the ruling of the Supreme Court. A very good decision to make the police more comfortable to do their job.
13:39 August 27, 2011 by DavidtheNorseman
The Police face hard days and rough work every day as the front line of keeping our societies peaceful. Every time you take a walk in the park without fear of violence it's partly a function of good policing.

They deserve the odd cup of coffee admidst all the abuse they get.

As for those whiners commenting, you'd know it if you were in a country where the Police were indeed not answerable and can do whatever they like to your average citizen as in China.
19:57 August 27, 2011 by waffen
Much ado about nothing.

The police have as much right to a cup of coffee on duty as do all of the people who work for a living when they take a break.

The police parked where there were both reasonable expectations of their unhindered movement and where there was no danger to anyone or anything, for ten or fifteen minutes.
02:48 August 28, 2011 by PonceDeLeon
You can tell the size of a country by the size of their problems. Obviously money well spent...
05:16 August 28, 2011 by Exolon
a) they parked safely without obstructing anyone, and

b) they needed to be able to return to their vehicles in a hurry if an emergency arose, and therefore couldn't park 2km away from the coffee shop, and

c) Meanwhile in the rest of the world, dodgy police are causing "dissidents" to disappear or turn up dead in police custody, or murdering unarmed Brazilian electricians.

You're complaining that took a break and parked in the wrong spot? Have a cup of tea.
Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available