Heat seeking helicopters to protect homes for refugees

Police helicopters armed with thermal cameras will watch over buildings to be used as refugee housing in remote areas after over a dozen suspected arson attacks in the country.

"Potential offenders should know that the police are in place," says Jonas Hysing, police commander of the ALMA division, to news Agency TT.

He was speaking before another arson attack against refugee accommodation in the early hours of Thursday.

More resources have now been allocated to police forces in Sweden with the national operations division (NOA) providing help to combat the attacks on buildings set aside for use as temporary accommodation for refugees. The division will offer personnel, analysts, forensic specialists and staff from its cybercrime centre.

The heat seeking helicopters will assist in surveillance and assist against any potential threat, according to a police press release. They can cover large areas with thermal cameras to search for suspects in the dark, says police commander Jonas Hysing.

"We will focus our helicopters on places in rural areas where we have long call-out times for police patrols on the ground," he tells TT.
 
How effective this will be almost impossible to answer, says Hysing.

"The effectiveness in this respect is measured in what is not happening. What is important is that one should know that the police have been monitoring these places to prevent criminal activities."

In the early hours of Thursday morning, another arson attack against asylum accommodation was reported in Skåne.

According to the police, someone poured flammable liquid through a window of the building north of Höör, and set it alight.

"We are treating this as very serious," says Hans Nilsson, of Skåne police, to newspaper Aftonbladet.

Fire and rescue services were called to the premises, which is used by unaccompanied minors, in Tjörnarp, north of Höör, shortly after 4 am.

The fire was quickly extinguished by staff inside and noone was hurt.
  
The Swedish Migration Agency said on Wednesday that it will no longer publicize the location of facilities intended to house refugees after more than 20 fires, many considered arsons, have either destroyed or made the buildings temporarily unusable.

A Migration Agency spokeswoman Johanna Uhr tells AFP that future sites "will somehow be kept concealed."

In recent weeks there has been a large spike in suspected arson attacks on asylum centers or buildings to be used as shelter to meet the influx of refugees. Immigration officials estimate some 190,000 asylum-seekers will arrive this year.