Police at Malmö's Norra Grängesbergsgatan after a bomb attack on November 5th. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
According to the local Sydsvenskan newspaper, the city police have issued a written order to officers instructing them to impose “reprisals”, “sanctions” and “increased focus” on eight young men seen as key figures in the shootings.
This includes putting pressure on friends, girlfriends and relatives.
“It should be uncomfortable to be one of their relatives,” the order reads, without explaining exactly what measures this would involve.
Anne Ramberg, General Secretary of the Swedish Bar Association, denounced the policy as “absolutely terrifying” in quotes to the newspaper
“This is precisely what they do in societies which cannot be seen as having the rule of law,” she said. “There, they use relatives and others to pressure people. That’s what I react really strongly against.”
The order came earlier this month as the city implements its 'Stop Shooting' strategy, which is influenced by the Group Violence Intervention strategy pioneered in the US, and takes a “carrot and stick” approach to reducing gun crime.
In October, nine men were invited to a lecture at Malmö’s football stadium where they were informed about all of the ways the city could help them leave a life of crime.
They were also warned, however, that if even one of them was seen to commit a violent crime or carry a weapon, police would come down hard on all of them.
Then, after one of the nine was arrested on November 5th on suspicion of involvement in two bomb attacks and shootings in the city, police apparently started to implement the “stick” part of the plan, issuing the order a few days later.
Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus denied that the police aimed to target relatives, claiming that the reason it would be “uncomfortable” for relatives was that many of the men were registered at relatives’ addresses.
“This is about getting these individuals not to pick up weapons and shoot anyone dead,” he told Sydsvenskan.
“It might be that we talk to the parents, but that is mainly so they don’t get affected when we raid properties and seize people and so on. But we’re not going to harass the parents because their sons are criminals.”