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Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers

A video has emerged of Swedish off-duty police officers breaking up a violent fight on the New York subway.

Swedish police officers praised by New Yorkers
The Swedish police heroes meet with NYPD heads. Photo: New York Police Department/TT

As The Local reported on Thursday, the Swedish officers, who are all in their twenties, were on their way to see a show on Broadway when they heard the operator of the train call for help over the intercom from any police officers who might be on the train.

When Samuel Kvarzell, Erik Näslund, Markus Åsberg and Eric Jansberger got to the front of the train, they saw a homeless man being attacked as passengers looked on. The group managed to restrain the person who was beating him, who was also believed to be homeless, according to the New York Post.

On Friday the four Swedes met with NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, who praised their resourcefulness.

“We are guests of the New York Police until Sunday,” Åsberg told Swedish news wire TT, and added: “We're a bit surprised at all the attention”.

In a video filmed by a New York resident and published on YouTube, the Swedes are heard asking if the suspected culprit is injured, while restraining him.

In the US, where police violence is a hot debate, many have taken to social media to suggest that NYPD should employ Swedish officers in the future.

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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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