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Lenient drug sentences worry Swedish police

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11:01 CET+01:00
The Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen) has become more lenient when sentencing drug dealers, a trend that worries police who say it endangers their counter-narcotics work.

A review by regional daily Göteborgs-Posten (GP) shows that the Swedish court has changed tack after a verdict in June 2011. It set a legal precedent that courts must take into account not only the amount of drugs being sold, but look at all surrounding circumstances.

For example, courts are expected to look at whether the dealer worked for a bigger organised network and at how long he or she had been selling drugs.

In practice, crimes that were once punished by up to ten years in jail will from now on only entail five years on the inside, Stefan Reiman, counsellor at Helsingborg district court of appeals, told GP.

Police sources told the newspaper they are worried the new rulings will affect their investigations.

The length of a possible sentence determines factors such as how easy it is for the police to set up a wire tap.

GP also cites a report from the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalen) that claims shorter sentencing has already lead to more drugs being on sale out on the streets.

TT/The Local/at

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