More needs to be done to fight hate crime, says police chief
Hate crimes need to be prioritised by police and clear efforts need to be made when the new national police organisation is created in the new year.
That is according to Håkan Sandahl, currently police chief in Jönköping county, given the task by the previous centre-right government to see what can be done to fight crimes targeted at specific groups in society. These include crimes with homophobic, racist or anti-semitic motives.
All seven regional police authorities should have their own specialised hate crime groups, he tells news agency TT, there should be a national co-ordinator of efforts to fight hate crime, and a forum should be created for police, legal organisations and victims groups to meet and discuss strategies.
"It is important that we both create trust as well as investigate the crimes", Sandahl tells TT, "that shouldn't be done by the same people, but it makes it easier to investigate if we can deal with this in an integrated way."
At the moment there are only specialised hate crime groups in Stockholm and Malmö.
"When I meet representatives of the Jewish community they have quite a good security organisation, they trust the police and they choose to report the issues affecting congregations and schools, as well as individual members of the community that need help and support in that process. There we have comparatively good possibilities to investigate hate crimes. But when I meet representatives from the Roma community they express a deep distrust of the police. It was bad before, they now say that they don't call the police because it will only get worse when you come", Sandahl told Swedish Radio News.
Sandahl says the way police have worked to fight domestic crime could also be the way forward when fighting hate crime. Police have been given special training to increase their knowledge about the crimes, and specialised investigative groups have been formed in police forces across the country.