Sweden's new PM warns gang crime 'may get worse before it gets better'

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Sweden's new PM warns gang crime 'may get worse before it gets better'
Ulf Kristersson outlines the programme of Sweden's new government in parliament. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden's incoming Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has warned that the new government's chief priority of tackling gang crime will not be easy, with a risk of "a lot of conflict when the power of the criminal gangs is threatened".


In a speech in parliament outlining the government's programme, Kristersson said his government would aim to "lay the groundwork for solving the big problems in Swedish society". 

"Let me say it bluntly. The government which is now taking power, is taking over a country which stands in the middle of many parallel crises," he said. 


He argued, however, that the challenges posed by gang crime, an economic downturn, and high energy prices were not impossible to combat.

"My message is also hopeful," he said. "We in Sweden have solved big problems before. Generations of Swedes have faced tough times and risen to the test."

No other country in Europe was faced with as severe a problem with gang criminality as that faced by Sweden today, he warned, with gang crime now "a threat to society". 

"It damages the confidence and the trust which Swedish society is built on, and is a bigger threat to the social contract than anything anyone now active in Swedish politics has experienced," he said. 

The solution, he said was to follow the hardline approach to gang crime enacted in Denmark in recent years, with "Danish measures against Swedish crime". 

But these tougher measures would not have immediate results: "There is going to be a lot of conflict when the power of the criminal gangs is threatened. It could get worse before it gets better." 

Among the hardline measures on crime outlined by Kristersson were the launch of new youth prisons, the deportation of criminals who are not Swedish citizens, building more prisons and hiring prison places overseas. 

After his speech, which you can read in English here, Kristersson announced his new ministers, and the new government will then walk to the Royal Palace where they will meet King Carl XVI Gustav to be formally instated. 


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