Swedish police ‘on alert’ for provincial post-Christmas parties

Young people returning home for Christmas can mean extra work for police forces in many of Sweden's smaller towns.

Swedish police 'on alert' for provincial post-Christmas parties
File photo: Kyrre Lien/TT
'Homecoming night' (hemvändarkväll) has, in recent years, involved into an expression that describes the the phenomenon of young people going out to party with old friends once the Christmas Eve celebrations with family are done.
The trend has been noticeable emerged in smaller towns, where younger Swedes return from the bigger cities to visit parents or other family members.
“It is usually an extraordinary night out drinking large amounts of alcohol. For us, this often means responding to drunk and disorderly behaviour and a fair amount of criminality,” Mats Öjdahl, duty officer with the Central (Mitt) region's police force, said to news agency TT.
In the Central region, which includes the counties of Uppsala, Gävleborgs and Västmanland, police called in reinforcements during the night of December 25th – a move replicated in many other parts of the country.
“This is one of the biggest drinking occasions of the year. The Lucia celebrations, which were a big deal in my youth, are nothing in comparison nowadays,” said Öjdahl, referring to the Swedish festive tradition that takes place on the 13th of December.
While Boxing Day is also a popular occasion for partying, the fact that this day is followed by a workin day has resulted in many preferring to let their hair down on the 25th.
In the town of Visby, police called in extra patrols and stationed a police bus in the harbour area throughout the evening and night.
“We use it as a mini-office, as there will be a number of people from the police volunteer corps walking around here,” Pia Persson, station officer in the town, told Hela Gotland.