Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Riot-equipped police pass a barricade at the centre of Ringdansen during the riots in Navestad in Norrköping on Easter day, 2022.
Riot-equipped police pass a barricade at the centre of Ringdansen during the riots in Navestad in Norrköping on Easter day, 2022. The unrest was triggered by the right-wing extremist Rasmus Paludan saying that he will return to Östergötland for new demonstrations during the day. Photo Stefan Jerrevång / TT

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.


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Sweden to ban unregistered pre-paid mobile phones

Sweden is to ban anonymous mobile phone ‘cash cards’ from August 1st in a move police say will help to fight organised crime.

Sweden to ban unregistered pre-paid mobile phones

Pre-paid SIM cards, known in Swedish as kontantkort or cash cards will soon require registration with information including the owner’s name and personal identity number (personnummer), broadcaster SVT reports.

The new rules could present difficulties for people without a personnummer, such as foreign nationals who have recently moved to Sweden, since a personal identity number is needed to set up a phone contract.

Sweden is changing its laws around pre-paid SIM cards because the anonymous nature of unregistered phones makes the work of law enforcement agencies more difficult, SVT writes.

“[The new rules] make it more difficult for criminals and easier for the police and other law enforcement agencies,” Fredrik Joelsson, of the police fraud unit in Västerås and operational analyst for the police in Region Mitt, told SVT.

Suspicious phone numbers in criminal investigations are almost always without a registered owner, according to Joelsson.

But the analyst said he believes that professional criminals will find ways to get around the new rules by using methods including fake BankIDs and apps.

“We will still have to work hard on these cases,” he said.

A name and postal address along with personal identity number or other identification number (for example, for business phones) will be required to purchase a pre-paid SIM from August 1st, SVT writes based on information from Sweden’s Post and Telecommunications Authority (Post- och telestyrelsen) and parliament.

When registering for the pre-paid card, the subscriber’s identity must be checked using a valid document such as a passport or driving licence.

Unregistered pre-paid cards will continue to work until February 1st, 2023.

READ ALSO: Which Swedish banks still let foreign citizens apply for a BankID?