Sweden's government to bring in stop-and-search zones in March

TT/The Local
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Sweden's government to bring in stop-and-search zones in March
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer, Sweden Democrats MP Richard Jomshof, the Christian Democrat Jutice Spokesperson Torsten Elofsson, and the Liberal Party police spokesperson Martin Melin at a press conference announcing the new stop-and-search zones on Thursday. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden's government has said it will bring in its controversial stop-and-search zones from March, with police then empowered to carry out bodily searches for drugs and weapons without a concrete suspicion.


From March 28th, police in Sweden will be able to temporarily declare any area one of its so-called "security zones", or säkerhetszoner, if there is a tangible risk of shootings or attacks with explosives as a result of gang conflicts.

Once an area has received this designation, police will then be able to search people and cars within the area without any concrete suspicion. 

According to Mats Melin, police spokesperson for the Liberal Party, even wearing clothes or fashion associated with gang criminality could be sufficient grounds to be stopped. 

"Police have an extremely good picture of how gang criminals dress and behave, and it's different from that of well-behaved youth in these areas," he said. "Not everyone who wears a Gucci cap is a gang criminal, but many gang criminals do wear them. There's a certain style that goes with being a gang criminal." 

Sweden's justice minister, Gunnar Strömmer, said that given the fact that attacks with explosives have occurred as recently as within the last few days, it was important to trial every possible measure. 

"Sweden has an enormous need to trial new tools," he said. 


The new zones can only be imposed for two weeks at a time, but can be extended if required. According to Strömmer, police need to document all searches carried out so that the efficacy of the measure can be tested. 

"One important thing is that all searches have to be documented. This is something new when it comes to stop and search. We want to make this a requirement so that we can see in hindsight if there was any concrete reason for the intrusion," he said. 

The measure is divisive, with municipal local governments in Malmö and Stockholm criticising the measure as likely to lead to stigmatisation and ethnic profiling. 

Sweden's Parliamentary Ombudsman (JO), Discrimination Ombudsman (DO), and the Office of the Chancellor of Justice (JK), have all criticised the measure. 


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Ravi 2024/02/08 21:10
Prevention is better than cure.Government should foucs on preventing drugs from coming into Sweden rather than implementing these kind of actions.Will they also search a Swede wearing Gucci cap ?

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