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Two drown after high-speed police chase

Two suspected petrol thieves have died after a high-speed police chase on Monday night ended with them driving their car off a bridge that was open for boat traffic, and into the icy waters below.

Two drown after high-speed police chase

The owner of a petrol station in Uppsala, eastern Sweden, called police to report a vehicle had left without paying.

Police subsequently took up the chase after spotting the car on a highway soon after midnight.

The two people, whose identities and gender remain unknown, led the police at high speed through Enköping and further south towards Strängnäs – about 30 kilometres west of Stockholm.

In an effort to stop the thieves, police called ahead to operators at the Hjulstabron bridge, a 520 metre long drawbridge, and demanded it was open as if a boat was passing.

But the thieves either didn't slow down in time, or decided to crash through the barricades in an escape effort, and then drove off the open bridge and into the icy water below.

The bodies of the two thieves were found by divers in the early hours of Tuesday morning. They were stuck inside their car and had drowned.

By Tuesday morning, the car had been removed from the waters of the Hjulstafjärden and the bridge was opened to traffic again.

TT/The Local/og

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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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