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BORDER CHECKS

Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect

Danish checks on border crossings with Sweden have come into effect.

Always bring ID: Danish checks on Sweden border take effect
Danish customs officers on the Øresund Bridge. File photo: Morten Germund/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government announced last month that it would bring in controls on the border, citing recent bomb explosions and gang violence.

The border checks will take place at all border crossings one or more times per week.

People travelling across the border will therefore need to carry the proper identification such as a passport or driving licence.

In a confirmation issued on Monday, Denmark’s National Police confirmed the border control was now effective and reaffirmed its intention of “preventing serious and organized crime from spreading”.

All travellers should be prepared to show identification, the police statement added.

Copenhagen and surrounding areas have been subjected to a series of explosions and gang-related shootings in recent months.

Those incidents include an explosion at the Tax Agency in the Nordhavn area of the city, for which police suspect two Swedish men. No serious injuries occurred.

“We are targeting organized crime and it is a stated goal for normal travellers to be affected as little as possible by the border control. The frequency of checks will depend upon current status of investigations and local conditions and traffic flow,” National Police director Lene Frank said in the statement.

Border control will take place in the form of spot checks and periods in which police controls will be in place. This will apply to ferry crossings between Sweden and Rønne (Bornholm), Helsingør (Zealand), Frederikshavn and Grenaa (both Jutland); traffic as on the Øresund Bridge and on all rail connections between Sweden and Denmark, Franks confirmed.

Stockholm has meanwhile announced its own response to a recent spate of violent crime incidents including explosions and fatal shootings in Sweden.

EU rules allow temporary border control within the Schengen zone for up to six months, after which application must be made to member states via the Commission's council of ministers to extend the arrangement.

Commuters between Copenhagen and Malmö and others who regularly cross the Denmark-Sweden border are likely used to bringing passports with them, given that Sweden has had its own controls in place since the European refugee crisis in late 2015.

Denmark has had checks in place on its border with Germany since January 2016, having extended them on several occasions.

 

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POLICE

Swedish police request more money for border control

Border control in Sweden has been the subject of strong criticism, and a law enforcement assessment says more funding is required.

Swedish police request more money for border control
File photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police are requesting an additional 600 million kronor from the government to manage border checks.

The border controls were broadly criticized in last year's Schengen report on the functioning of the common border area. Insufficient staff, organisation and competence were all mentioned in the report.

Earlier this year, news agency TT reported that border staff with police in the Stockholm region had alerted the Ministry of Justice as to the seriousness of the situation.

In order to meet the demands set in the Schengen report, workforce at border crossing points must be expanded, the Swedish Police Authority (Polismyndigheten) writes in its annual budget assessment, presented to the government.

Investment in education, equipment and facilities is also requested, while IT systems must be improved, the authority said as it sought an additional 600 million kronor over three years for border controls.

When the additional costs will arise or when the various improvements will be undertaken is currently unclear, but investment of 100 million kronor is required for 2020, followed by 200 million kronor in 2021 and 300 million kronor in 2022, according to the police preliminary assessment.

In order to meet an overall target of an extra 10,000 police employees by 2024, the authority has asked for financial backing corresponding to that received in the period up to and including 2021. That amounts to an additional 1.3 billion kronor.

“The police has just submitted its budget request. We will, of course, analyse it. It is currently too early to comment on how the government’s budget will look. We will return to that,” Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg told TT.

“However, the government has been clear – the police must have 10,000 more employees by 2024, and this was also stated in the January agreement [providing for the new government, ed.],” Damberg added.

READ ALSO: Schengen report criticizes Swedish border checks as not fit for purpose

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