Inside the Kronoberg Remand Centre in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
“On Sunday evening. I think it was about 6pm, the remand prison in Malmö was closed for new intakes for over 24 hours,” Håkan Tullberg, head of Malmö's remand prisons, told Swedish radio broadcaster SR.
Tullberg said every suspect placed in remand by Malmö courts on Monday morning had to remain in police custody until a place could be found. It was not even possible to find free spaces as far away as Gothenburg or Stockholm.
“That hasn't happened for over ten years,” said Tullberg.
Malmö's 117 remand places were occupied on the last three Mondays, according to statistics cited by SR.
Swedish police chief Anders Thornberg has informed the justice ministry of the problem.
He said that the problem had come about as a result of police successes.
“Police are making more and more drugs seizures and arresting and prosecuting more and more. In addition the number of weapons seizures has grown since 2015,” he said.
“The results of our investigations are showing a cautiously positive trend,” he said in a press release.
But he warned that a shortage of spaces was becoming a bottleneck at a time when a growing number of criminals are being arrested.
“The rest of the justice process needs to be able to adapt to the development and be able to accept an increased in-flow if the work is to be effective and the rule of law not to be undermined.”