Confidence in Sweden’s police is sinking: poll

Confidence in Sweden’s police is on a downward trajectory and faith in the organization's head is low, according to the result of a new study reported by SVT.

Confidence in Sweden's police is sinking: poll
Faith in Sweden's police force is dropping, according to a new poll. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

In a survey carried out by pollsters Sifo in November, 47 percent of respondents said they had very high or quite high confidence in the Swedish police, compared to 61 percent in a previous poll in March.

“There have been discussions in the countryside, where people say that there are no police. There were fatal shootings in Malmö and Gothenburg. There has been an intense debate about what the police can deliver, if they can get there, and which crimes are prosecuted,” Sifo opinion polls head Toivo Sjörén told SVT.

The Swedish police in general are more popular than their boss however. Confidence in Sweden’s National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson is at rock bottom, according to the study.

Only one percent of respondents said they have high confidence in how he does his job. Nine percent said they had quite a lot of confidence in him.

In late September, a major union for police officers in Sweden described the authority as “in crisis” in response to a report on how restructuring of the body is going.

“Right now it is unclear who should take decisions and on what grounds, and that creates a problem in operational police work,” Swedish Police Union chairwoman Lena Nitz said. 


Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 


More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.”