Sweden needs more police officers, union says

A lack of adequate staff numbers and changes within the police organization are preventing more crimes from being solved, according to the Swedish Police Union (Polisförbundet) survey of its members.

Sweden needs more police officers, union says
File photo of Swedish police officers. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

According to 39 percent of police surveyed, a lack of investigation staff means the country's crime clearance rate is going in the wrong direction. 23 percent blamed changes in the police organization for that meanwhile, and 13 percent blamed a lack of staff to carry out arrests.

“They lack officers to investigate all crimes. Talented police officers are quitting these days because they get better conditions within other fields,” Polisförbundet spokesperson Lena Nitz said in a statement.

The number of cases handed over by police to prosecutors in Sweden has decreased from 200,000 per year to 150,000 in 2016 according to the union, though a change in the trend appears to have started this year.

The survey also showed the at almost a third of police officers consider half of their administrative work to be unnecessary, and that it could be avoided by streamlining.

READ ALSO: Swedish police 'in crisis', union says

The union says that too many people leave their job prematurely due to a difficult working environment and low salaries. Last year 460 officers quit in order to pursue something else, and by March this year the figure was at 130.

In 2016, 200 police officers under the age of 40 left their positions, while police training positions were not fully filled at the same time.


Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime