Sweden to crack down on silly police reports

The Swedish government announced on Thursday that is is going to launch an investigation into valuable police time being wasted by officers forced to deal with unnecessary reports and complaints.

Sweden to crack down on silly police reports
A police spokesman told The Local they receive many complaints from people who lose their car keys. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Sweden’s interior minister Anders Ygeman on Thursday said that the government would investigate how the police responds to unnecessary complaints from the public.

The minister suggested that police either drop the complaints without processing them or simply stop taking such calls altogether. 

Ygeman also had some advice for those thinking of wasting police time. 

“You should not notify the police if an eagle has abused a rabbit or even that a shower jet is too hard or that you have received an ugly sweater for Christmas,” Interior Minister Anders Ygeman told TT. 

“If you receive an ugly sweater from your mother for Christmas you should take it up with her and not with the police.” 

Another problem, he said, is that many police reports are made because they are required by insurance companies in order to give out compensation. 

“Today it means that the police are bound to take measures that do not help to solve crimes,” he said. 

Ygeman believes that it would benefit everyone if insurance companies did not require a police report when it comes to minor offences, such as a stolen bike or a camera. 

Ultimately, he said, insurance companies are the losers because important police resources are wasted instead of solving serious crimes such as car theft or burglary where even heftier compensation payments are required. 

Stefan Marcopoulos, a spokesperson for the police, told The Local: “If it’s obvious that it [the call] doesn't concern a crime, then we drop it more or less immediately.”

He added that police received a fair amount of complaints about lost car keys because people’s insurance companies require them to report it in those situations.  

Interview and additional research by Elin Jönsson

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Sweden’s ‘snippa’ rape case to go to the High Court

When Sweden's appeals court threw out a guilty verdict in a child rape case over the meaning of 'snippa', a child's word for a vagina, it caused a scandal in Sweden. Now, the Swedish Supreme Court wants to hear from the Court of Appeals about its decision.  

Sweden's 'snippa' rape case to go to the High Court

Attorney General Petra Lundh criticised the appeals court for “a number of serious miscarriages of justice” in the way it dealt with the case. 

The man had been sentenced to three years imprisonment in 2021 after the district court heard how he, in the prosecutor’s words, had “by sticking his hand inside the plaintiff’s shorts and underwear, holding his hand on the the girl’s ‘snippa’ and having a finger inside her ‘snippa’, performed a sexual act” on her. 

The girl’s testimony was found to be credible, in part because she had told her mother about the incident on their way home.

But in February this year, the appeals court threw out the conviction, arguing that it was unclear what the girl means by the word snippa, a word taught to Swedish children to refer to female genitalia.

Despite agreeing with the district court that the man had touched the girl between her legs and inserted his finger into her snippa, the court found that it could not be determined whether the girl was referring to her vulva or to her vagina.

If the man had inserted his finger into her vagina, that would have met the standard to be classified as rape. Because the girl said that his finger was “far in”, but could not state exactly how far, the appeals court found that it could not establish beyond doubt that the man had inserted his finger in her vagina and not her the vulva.

Because no lower-grade charges, such as sexual abuse or molestation, had been filed against the man, the appeals court could not consider other offences.

This week, the Attorney General lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court against the appeal court’s decision. Now the Swedish Supreme Court has given the appeals court until April 12 to explain its decision-making in the case.

The Supreme Court has not decided whether it will hear an appeal against the decision to clear the man of rape charges.