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POLICE

Sweden launches new weapons amnesty

Sweden on Friday commenced with its first weapons amnesty in more than five years, allowing anyone to turn illegal firearms in to police with no questions asked.

Sweden launches new weapons amnesty

“From a law enforcement perspective, we are happy to have a new, temporary weapons amnesty underway,” Detective Peter Thorsell of the legal division of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) said in a statement.

“Reducing illegal weapons possession is a very important measure for reducing gun violence.”

According to the terms of the amnesty, which lasts from March 1st through May 31st, 2013, anyone can turn in a firearm or ammunition without the risk of being charged with illegal weapons possession.

To avoid prosecution, people must turn the weapons in voluntarily and police have agreed not to ask any questions or make inquiries as to the origins of the weapons.

The goal of the programme is to reduce the number of illegal weapons on Sweden’s streets.

“Compared with licenced weapons, there is a much higher risk that illegal weapons will be misused or fall into the wrong hands,” said Thorsell.

“These are firearms that are often stored improperly, tucked away or hidden in attics or sheds.”

Police also hope the amnesty will prompt people with modified or homemade firearms to turn them in.

The last time Sweden carried out a weapons amnesty was in 2007, at which time roughly 13,000 firearms were turned in to police.

Following the amnesty, the weapons and ammunition collected by police will be destroyed.

TT/The Local/dl

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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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