More Swedish police employees than usual were fired in 2018

More police employees than usual were dismissed or let go from their jobs in 2018, according to a media report.

More Swedish police employees than usual were fired in 2018
File photo: Jeppe Gustafsson/TT

A range of reasons account for the total number of police staff leaving their positions, according to the report by public service broadcaster SVT.

Intimidation, assault and sexual harassment are all amongst reasons given for the firings, according to the report.

“It is good for public confidence to know that people who have committed gross misconduct are no longer there,” Olov Augrell, head of HR with the Swedish Polish Authority, told SVT.

2018 appears to be a statistical outlier, with five police officers and one civilian employee fired and four police staff released.

Previous years have generally seen three or four sackings. In the last five years (2014-2018), a total of 25 police employees in both law enforcement and civilian roles have been fired — meaning they are dismissed from their roles with immediate effect — or otherwise let go.

The reason for the relatively high number of dismissals in 2018 is unclear, said Lotta Gustavsson, deputy spokesperson with the Police Authority’s personnel board.

Historically, police may have been less effective in the area and may have become better at following up cases that can lead to dismissal, Gustavsson said according to SVT's report.

Although the statistics may include sackings due to crimes committed either privately or professionally, such cases are rare, the personnel board spokesperson told the broadcaster.

“The (dismissals) are seldom due to a crime, but are rather for various forms of misconduct,” she said.

READ ALSO: Teacher in Sweden reported to police for ejecting rude pupil

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Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.