The picture was taken shortly after a shooting incident in Jakobsberg, just north of Stockholm. Police were looking for a man who had been shot but had disappeared from the scene.
Just as police were winding down the operation, a bystander noticed that one of the officers was wearing civilian clothing under his protective gear.
Twitter user @DonCedergren commented on the appropriateness of the message being sent by the officer’s T-shirt:
Polisinsats i hemmakvarteren. “jiddrar du så dör du” står det på tröjan. Avslappnat värre pic.twitter.com/BRYC2X4p85
— Patsy (@DonCedergren) May 17, 2015
“Police operation in my neighbourhood. ‘If you yap you die,’ it says on the shirt. Pretty relaxed.”
— michael poromaa (@MPoromaa) May 18, 2015
The Twitter post sparked incredulous responses while the general social media furore also prompted a response from the police.
“This is very inappropriate. This clothing undoes a lot of the work we’ve done to build confidence in the police,” police spokesman Varg Gyllander told the TT news agency.
The picture was most likely taken during a plain-clothes operation, he said, but the officers had needed to put on protective gear in a hurry.
“But that doesn’t mitigate. We’ll find out who this officer is and explain that this kind of message is not acceptable. We will also inform people more broadly what the rules are and what’s acceptable,” said Gyllander.