Swedish Police Chief Sounds Alarm Over 'Unprecedented' Crime

Sweden, formerly a country well-known for its peaceful and law-abiding citizens, has for many years been plagued by gun violence, explosions and gang crime.

In 2022, Sweden took the unenviable European record for the most number of fatal shootings in a single year, eclipsing neighboring Nordic nations by some margin.

In a searing opinion piece, the country's police chief has penned an article complaining that organized crime has reached "unprecedented levels" and become more complex and difficult to deal with.

Writing in Swedish media, National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg lamented the fact that crime has become more complex and that it has become more difficult to get witnesses to talk.

"Prosecutors, witnesses and perpetrators, who have previously spoken to the police and testified in court, now almost never give any information. This makes the investigation significantly more difficult. Success in prosecution often requires finding other, more difficult evidence," Thornberg said.

Thornberg, a former director-general and head of the Swedish Security Service, also highlighted the fact that the police force is at present understaffed and underfinanced and he pleaded for more money and more officers. He also called for the force to be assisted by stronger tools through new legislation and strengthened cooperation between the authorities. He also argued that the police's mission must be fine-tuned so that it can tackle the emerging challenges.

The formerly peaceful nation has for many years been plagued by gun violence, explosions and gang crime. In 2022, Sweden took the unenviable European record for the highest number of fatal shootings in a single year - 64. To put that in perspective, neighboring Denmark which has a largely similar culture and economy, registered only eight gun-related deaths in 2022.

Although largely pinned to conflicts between rival gangs, shootings and explosions cause collateral damage as innocent bystanders are often hurt and venues are damaged. The conflicts even affect schools to the point that the authorities have issued guidelines on how to deal with these matters, which many have interpreted as a "normalization" of gangland violence.

All sorts of reports have revealed that second-generation immigrants are prevalent among the perpetrators of what are often ethnic-based crimes - something the authorities were reluctant to admit for a long time as it indicated that their integration policies had failed. Swedish authorities have now made a U-turn after decades of an "open doors" policy. Furthermore, the police said that violent offenders have become younger over the years, many of them still minors trying to gain credibility in gang land.

At the turn of the year, Sweden was swept by a wave of what the police viewed as retaliatory crimes. The spike in violence and bloodshed that dominated the news over the Christmas and New Year holidays represents a threat to the minority government led by the Moderates, as Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson ran specifically on a bid to tackle organized crime, pledging to "straighten out Sweden". Kristersson envisaged a "paradigm shift" in criminal justice and promised longer prison sentences to get gang members off the streets and deter new recruits from joining the underworld. The much-awaited turnaround has yet to materialize.

You can read this article as it originally appears at Sputnik here.

European Central Bank contractor confirms bail-ins are coming

(PHOTO: Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty Images)

Author image

About Sputnik

This article originally appeared at Sputnik.