The “internal border controls” caused an uproar in Sweden, being likened to racial profiling. The complaints came as police officers stepped up their efforts in cooperation with both the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to find and deport illegal immigrants.
The name of the project, Reva, trended as a hashtag on the Swedish homepage of Twitter as tales of random checks of commuters’ ID papers came to light in February this year.
Commentators from across the political spectrum reacted in anger to stories of police engaging in what they called questionable tactics to enforce deportation orders.
On Monday, the Ombudsmen for Justice, tasked with investigating suspected misconduct by public agencies in Sweden, summarized the anger that the spat provoked among many onlookers.
“There have been claims that police checking the ID papers did not only target people travelling without a ticket, or who were suspected of any other crime,” the statement read.
The ombudsman went on to underline that it was not permissible to check a person’s ID papers to determine whether they are residing in the country legally without a well-founded suspicion that they were in Sweden without the required permits.
“Controls cannot be applied without a specific reason,” the statement read.
“If a person is stopped only because they look foreign, it is not enough to stop that person and check their papers.”
The ombudsman has chosen to scrap the investigation, however, because the nine complaints filed with them have not come from persons who were actually stopped. The complainants instead referred to details provided by the media, and went on to become a heated public debate.
“Chief Justice Ombudsman Elisabet Fura has decided to not take further action,” the statement read on Monday.