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Security Service head named new Swedish police chief

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Security Service head named new Swedish police chief
Anders Thornberg (right) and Sweden's justice minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
13:04 CET+01:00
The head of Sweden's Security Service Säpo will leave his role to become the new chief of the Swedish police.

On Thursday Justice Minister Morgan Johansson announced that Anders Thornberg will replace Dan Eliasson from February 15th, after the latter resigned to lead disaster preparedness agency MSB.

Eliasson had faced regular criticism since he was appointed as head of police in 2014.

READ ALSO: Swedish police chief Dan Eliasson resigns

The Swedish police have been under increased pressure in recent years as stretched resources and limited officer numbers make their work increasingly difficult, but Thornberg said he is ready for the challenge.

"I've been a police for 37 years and defended Swedish integrity. I'm humble about the task and know it's a challenge," he told the media at a press conference called to make the announcement.

Briefly outlining his vision for the organization, Thornberg said he wanted the police to do more preventative work:

"I see a police which moves its position against crime through increased cooperation, nationally and internationally."

The announcement was welcomed by unions and officers.

"Anders Thornberg has extensive knowledge of police work and can motivate and engage employees. He's the unifying force the Swedish police needs," Swedish Police Union chairwoman Lena Nitz said in a statement.

"He's a police at heart, has been out in the field and knows what the police face every day. I think it's an important pillar for being able to take the right decisions and being able to motive and engage the police force."

READ ALSO: Working on the front line in Stockholm's vulnerable suburbs

"Anders Thornberg. Welcome. There's work to do, but it feels confidence building and hopeful. From difficulties to success. Also found out that he's an old Södermalm cop. The pieces are falling in place," the YB Södermalm account, run by officers in the south of Stockholm wrote on Twitter.

Thornberg took over as head of Säpo in 2012, and had worked at the organization since 1986. Before then he was a patrol officer in Södermalm after training in Stockholm.

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