Swedish police want to introduce facial recognition technology to fight crime

Swedish police reportedly want to introduce new facial recognition technology to help identify criminal suspects after testing the technique this spring.

Swedish police want to introduce facial recognition technology to fight crime
The technology analyzes images, including those from surveillance cameras. File photo: Adam Wrafter / SvD / TT

The computer programme recognizes and matches images of suspects, for example those taken from surveillance cameras, with images of people already in the police register. The register contains over 40,000 images of people who have been detained or arrested on suspicion of crime.

“It goes without saying that it takes a very long time to go through tens of thousands of photos manually, so with the technology we can do that faster,” Martin Valfridsson from the Swedish police told TV4 Nyheterna.

“The principle is roughly the same as when we search fingerprints and DNA,” he said.

During the test period this spring, images of 83 unknown suspects were analyzed, and around a quarter resulted in a match in the register. Now police want the technology to be a permanent part of their work. 

The Swedish Bar Association's general secretary Anne Ramberg was however critical of the new technology, which will need to be approved by the Data Inspection Board before it can be introduced.

“It's a question of individual freedom and the right to exercise democratic rights,” she told TV4.

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Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

The former politician has been charged on suspicion of murdering his colleague in an apartment south of Stockholm, after police found body parts in three different locations in the capital.

Sweden Democrat politician charged for dismembering colleague

According to the prosecution, the body parts found in plastic bags in central Stockholm came from a man in his 60s murdered in an apartment in Nyköping, south of Stockholm.

The man is said to have been killed by a pistol shot to the head, after which the 60-year-old charged with the murder dismembered the body.

The suspected murderer, who newspaper Expressen reports is a former Sweden Democrat politician, is said to have moved the body parts multiple times, eventually dumping them across the city.

In total, three body parts were found in two different locations – the Karlsberg canal and in the Djurgården park. Not all parts of the body have yet been found.

“We’ve carried out a comprehensive investigation into the victim and the suspect. We can, to some extent, show how and when the suspect moved the body parts,” prosecutor Marina Chirakova told TT.

The victim, who according to Expressen was also a former Sweden Democrat politician, had been friends with the suspected murderer for a number of years. Prosecutors did not comment on the motive behind the murder.

“That will be discussed in the main hearings,” she told TT.

The suspect was taken into custody in November last year after being arrested in Nyköping. He denies the charges, but accepts certain circumstances related to the case.

Upon his arrest, he resigned from his political obligations and his membership was frozen by the Sweden Democrats.

“I don’t want to comment on his stance on the charges or anything he has said,” she further told TT.

The murder is suspected to have taken place between August 30th and September 16th last year.