Swedish police dump unruly drunks in the woods
Police in Sweden have hit upon a new way of dealing with unruly drunks - dumping them out in the woods. In the last six years, the number of reported cases has tripled nationwide, reports Swedish Radio news. Jesper Larsson from Falun had trouble understanding what had happened when he was bundled into a patrol car after an evening at a bar.
"First I was shocked and astonished and thought: Is this how the police should behave? I was lucky that I knew the place and could find my way," he says.
Between 2005 and 2011, the number of cases of police driving troublesome evening revellers into the woods increased from 1,600 to over 5,400.
In the Stockholm region alone, the figure is over 2,000, up from 200 in 2005, a tenfold increase.
"It is a typical case of where one should be spending resources to evaluate it before, so to say, increasing its' use." says Jerzy Sarnecki, professor in criminology at Stockholm University.
He says to Swedish Radio that he thinks that it is essentially a sympathetic policy (by the police) to drive away people who disturb public order.
"At the same time, it becomes unlawful. Decisions are made in the moment, and cannot be appealed. The police, as usual, have all the power on their side".
Swedish Radio channel P1 and its programme Kaliber has together with assorted local channels in Sweden been in contact with all of the country's 21 police authorities. All 21 believe that the removal policy is a good method and most police use it as a violence preventative measure during a weekend night in town.
"It is a really good method to prevent violence," says Roger Nyd, head of police on the island of Gotland.
"It is one of our most common methods we use, which means that in Stoockholm, it is used daily," says Johan Hed, head of community policing for Maria in Stockholm.
Swedish Radio reports however that from its investigations in different areas of the country, they have found people who have experienced being driven away to an improper place. Some poeple have been scared, unsure of how they can find a way home or who feel they have been wrongly arrested.
Jesper Larsson says that he was let out around five kilometres outside Borlänge and says that he did not get any explanation.
"They said nothing. I asked a lot of questions but got no answers. They told me to just shut up and go out," he says.
Bo Eriksson, a spokesperson for the police in dalarna, told Swedish radio that he did not want to comment on individual cases, but says that if a police officer decides on this action then he or she should say why.
Jesper thinks that his removal was unjustified, but if the police thought it necesary then at least take him home or to a police station but not a place in the woods, "out in the woods it feels almost degrading".