Swedish policeman faces dismissal over ‘racist’ remarks

A police officer in the west of Sweden could be fired for comments he is reported to have made in connection with an attempted deportation.

Swedish policeman faces dismissal over 'racist' remarks
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

In a telephone conversation subsequent to the deportation, the police officer embarked on a 40-minute tirade against a woman who filed a complaint against him with the parliamentary ombudsman.

The conversation was described as a “more or less” 40 minutes of “cultural racist proclamations”, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports.

The phone call was recorded and included in a report which was last week submitted to Sweden’s police personnel board (Polismyndighetens ansvarsnämnd), which assesses cases of potential misconduct.

The report concluded that the officer should be relieved of his duties.

According to the investigation, he caused workplace issues over several years and made both sexist and racist remarks on a number of occasions, including comments referring to Somalis and ‘batikhäxa’ (batik witches), a derogatory Swedish slang term for middle-aged women with socially liberal views.

The officer has been suspended since the beginning of June, according to Svenska Dagbladet’s report. The personnel board will decide the final outcome of the disciplinary procedure.

READ ALSO: Swedish police officer arrests fugitive in sauna while both naked

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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.