‘Police software’ sent drugs to ambassador

'Police software' sent drugs to ambassador
Another set of cannabis-filled bags. File: Cannabis Culture/Flickr
A clerk working for the Swedish police accidentally sent a package of seized narcotics not to the forensic lab, but to the Albanian embassy in Stockholm. A review has pinned the blame on a software glitch.

An internal review into the mix-up found that the clerk had worked for seven years with a fail-free record, before accidentally sending off a stash of cannabis and an unidentified powder to the Albanian embassy. 

The embassy driver who picked up the package noticed that it was much larger than the normal mail, but nonetheless delivered it to the ambassador. Inside the package, they found two big plastic bags marked "cannabis" and three smaller bags that were marked simply "powder". 

Eventually, police who were called to the scene managed to find a Stockholm city narcotics cop who said the package belonged to his unit, but that it should have been sent off to the state forensic laboratory (Statens kriminaltekniska laboratorium – SKL). 

The Albanian embassy remained tight-lipped about the incident. 

"In view of the fact that the relevant Swedish institutions have already apologized for that error, we consider the incident closed and have no further comments on the matter," an Albanian embassy spokesperson  told The Local.

After the incident last year, a prosecutor decided not to press professional misconduct charges against the mail-room clerk. Instead the clerk faced an internal National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) review board. Almost a year after the incident, the clerk has now gotten away with an official warning.

"At the time, there were staff shortages, people were stressed and possibly had problems concentrating," the internal review stated. 

The internal reviewers also found that the address system used in the mail room had a tendency to be slow and to "jump back" to the first address entered into the system. Yet they noted that despite the software hitch, the clerk had final responsibility for making sure the drugs weren't sent off to the Albanian ambassador.