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SWEDE OF THE WEEK

OFFBEAT

Swedish cops bask in Gangnam Style viral glow

A Gangnam Style-inspired announcement about traffic safety that went viral on Facebook has thrust a humble group of Swedish police officers into the spotlight, making them our pick for Swede(s) of the Week.

Swedish cops bask in Gangnam Style viral glow

“The idea was to promote traffic safety in a fun way and maybe attract a few visitors to our Facebook page,” Mikael Nykänen of the Höör police told the Expressen newspaper.

Colleagues of Nykänen, who heads the police station in the rather sleepy community of about 8,000 residents in southern Sweden, teamed up with counterparts from neighbouring stations in Eslöv and Hörby to produce a traffic safety film inspired by South Korean pop artist Psy’s 2012 megahit.

SEE ALSO: Swedish firemen turn up the heat in Harlem Shake video ‘shocker’

While hype surrounding the original Gangnam Style video, which has garnered more than one billion views on YouTube, may have passed its peak, that didn’t stop this rag-tag band of Swedish officers from riding the K-pop wave with their own version of the song, Kör i säker style (‘Driving safely style’).

“This is our challenge and appeal to you that you should drive safely so that you arrive safely,” read the description accompanying the video when it was posted on Wednesday to the official Facebook page of the police force of Ringsjöbygden, the collective name for the three town’s police operations.

Apparently, Swedes got the message, with the short video being shared more than 26,000 times and garnering nearly 30,000 shares in less than a day of being posted by Joel & Jonas the two officers behind the video who so far wish to be known only by their first names.

“We thought a lot of people would see it, but not this many,” Nykänen told Expressen.

While some of the 2,500 commenters voiced criticism over the film, alleging that it came too late and that the officers’ time should be spent fighting crime rather than dancing in front of a camera, Nykänen insisted reaction to the video has been overwhelmingly positive.

He added that it was shot and produced outside of official working hours.

Speaking with the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper, local police chief Patrik Isacsson explained that the idea for the video was hatched several months ago when the Facebook page of the Ringsjöbygden police was launched.

Isacsson signed off on the production, allowing the officers behind the film to use official police uniforms and vehicles, and saw the finished product just before it was posted, calling it “professional with good content”.

He added that he and his colleagues are still feeling their way forward with social media, having joined the ranks of several other local police precincts that have taken to Facebook and Twitter to engage with the public.

SEE ALSO: A list of The Local’s past Swedes of the Week

“Things don’t always have to be so formal; sometimes it’s okay to be a bit light-hearted,” he told the newspaper.

Meanwhile Nykänen, who didn’t appear in the video posted on Wednesday, hinted that the Gangnam Style-inspired video may not be the last one produced by the Ringsjöbygden police video production duo of Joel & Jonas.

“It seems like they’re planning something. They wanted to wait and see what happened with this one, but now when things have gone so well, there will probably something similar,” he told Expressen.

English translation of Kör i säker style lyrics

Driving safely style

When you’re driving safely you must think of those around you

We’ll be sure the law is followed, we’ll let honesty surround you

Whatever car you may be driving

Be clear in what you do

Use your blinkers

Drive at legal speeds, be nice to others, and leave enough distance to one another

On the roads you’ll be sure to get there, there, there, there

Driving safely style

Editor’s Note: The Local’s Swede of the week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

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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