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Swedish police lack resources to deport rejected asylum seekers

Published fredag 5 maj kl 12.06
The border police's methods of hunting down rejected asylum seekers have forced many into hiding.
The border police's methods of hunting down rejected asylum seekers have forced many into hiding. Credit: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three out of Sweden's seven regional police departments have complained that they lack the resources needed to track down rejected asylum seekers for deportation.

Police authorities in the Bergslagen, Central and Northern regions – which together comprise well over half of Sweden's territory – have complained that they are unable to carry out the enhanced operations requested by Sweden's government. 

"What has happened is that higher demands have been placed upon us and we are required to carrry out different and more extensive tasks, and the required resources have unfortunately not been made available," Esad Ajanovic from the border police in Örebro told Swedish Radio.

He said that in Örebro alone, the border police have a list of 587 people who they are supposed to tracked down and seized so they can be deported.

"There is a risk that some of them – perhaps not all, but some of them – will manage to remain," he said. 

"They have perhaps lived here a number of months or even years and have managed to build contacts and some kind of a social safety net and want to remain here."

Sweden's government last month announced plans to give police the authority to raid workplaces across the country as part of a push to catch the estimated 33,000 rejected asylum seekers expected to go into hiding over the coming three years.

At the end of 2016, police were officially on the lookout for 12,606 people who faced deportation.

In Sweden, it is the border police who are responsible for carrying out internal checks on work places, housing and other places to find people who have no legal right to live in Sweden.

"We have launched a recruitment process, but those police officers we have offered jobs have not been able to start working for us because they are needed so much where they are already working," Ajanovic said.

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