Refugee influx has police demand thousands of new officers

1:35 min

The Swedish Police force is requesting as many as 4,100 new employees because of the refugee influx and an increased terror threat. The request is made in a letter from the police to the government, to be submitted Monday.

Swedish Radio news reports that the police want between 1,500 and 2,500 more officers and 1,600 new civilian employees by the year 2020. The National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson says some police services will suffer if they do not receive those reinforcements.

"Like having a presence in areas that are socio-economically disadvantaged. The consequence will be less safety. Drug and traffic offenses will also be given less priority. I don't think the Swedish people want that, without the government and parliament listening to our request," said Eliasson.

Extra resources would be used for the national force that combats terrorism and also for border controls and deportations as well as to police asylum accomodations.

"We have a lot of places where people are living for a long time in difficult conditions. These are small spaces where there are fights and disturbances. We need to have a presence there to make sure it's nice and quiet," said Eliasson.

Addressed to the Ministry of Justice, the letter connects the high number of people applying for asylum in Sweden last year with a sharp increase in workload both for the police's border control operations and for police work to maintain order and safety.

An increased terror threat also requires more personnel and investments in facilities, equipment, vehicles, and training, police say. For 2017 to 2019 the police estimate they will need an extra SEK 1.8 to 2.8 billion.

Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman told Swedish Radio that he was "cautiously positive" about the new demands.

"If we have a situation with border control that we haven't had since 1994, if we have the greatest terrorist threat since this scale was introduced, well then eventually it will be necessary to give more resources to the police," said Ygeman.