Boosting police force key issue for Christian Democrats
Sweden's police force needs 2,000 more officers by 2020 and 500 additional civilian staff members by next year, according to the opposition Christian Democrats who presented their shadow budget Wednesday.
The Christian Democrats want to invest SEK 4 billion in the Swedish police to ensure they can meet a number of challenges, party leader Ebba Busch Thor suggested in an opinion piece for newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
Presenting their shadow budget at a Wednesday press conference, the Christian Democrats also echoed the Liberal Party in suggesting the Swedish government should be spending less at a time when the country is experiencing positive economic growth.
According to the Christian Democrats’ shadow spring budget proposal, presented at a Wednesday morning press conference, boosting the police force with an additional 2,000 police officers will help improve police operations and crime prevention. The 500 civilian employees would help free up resources and streamline police work in the short term, according to the party.
Moreover, the Christian Democrats want to strengthen Sweden’s anti-terrorism capacities by doubling the size of the national task force and they want all police officers in external duty to be trained in handling terror attacks.
The party also suggests setting up a national reserve force with civilian duty police who can be called in during "serious or wide-scale societal disruptions”.
With these measures, the Christian Democrats hope to restore citizens' trust in the judicial system's ability to "stand up for the most vulnerable", they say.
But the party also wants to spend less than the current-redgreen government, and would make cuts. For example, it wants to clear up what it calls a "jungle" of subsidised jobs, including projects initiated by the centre-right Alliance. It also says the Swedish Employment Agency has been given too many tasks and that "there are reasons to be self-critical" over what happened during its time in power, under former leader Göran Hägglund.
The Christian Democrats are part of the centre-right Alliance coalition, which lost power in 2014, when the Christian Democrats gained 4.5 percent of the vote. However, recent opinion polls show the level of support for the party is below the four-percent threshold required for entering parliament.