Threats against officials and witnesses on the rise in district courts

Swedish courts tighten security

Courts around the country have been given the go-ahead to step up security checks even when there is no specific threat of violence.

The decision was made in response to the growing number of threats and violent incidents taking place in Swedish district courts. Last year there were more than 300 incidents – almost a third more than the year before.

“We see more threatening situations, hotheaded behavior and more weapons in circulation,” Ylva Norling Jönsson, the chief judge Helsingborg district court in southern Sweden told Swedish Radio.

“We have had threats against staff and witnesses. And we’ve had a bomb threat.”

Until recently a specific threat was required before courts could search people entering courtrooms in Sweden. But from July 1 this year a theoretical threat will be enough, such as a conflict between criminal gangs in a locality.

“If we’re going to have a functioning legal system then everyone coming to court needs to feel safe and sound in our premises,” said Ylva Norling Jönsson.

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