Photo: Maria Flemström/Sveriges Radio
POlicing Sweden

Police union slams reform proposal

Specialist civilians working for the Swedish police force should be trained to carry out interrogations and other police duties, according to a new proposal to reform the way the police works.

Police researcher, Ebba Sverne Arvill, told Dagens Nyheter newspaper that the police force needs more specialist help in clearing up crimes.

“We can give police officers special training but a government decision is needed when it comes to civilian employees,” she said.

Several thousand new police officers have been recruited in recent years in a drive to increase the clear up rate of common crimes but with little effect on actual crime statistics. That has led to criticism, including from the National Audit Office, that the Swedish police force needs better trained personnel.

Police officers in Sweden spend two years at the national police college and then six months apprenticeship in the field. The length of training proposed for civilian employees is not yet known.

However the new plans are controversial.

Lena Nitz, chair of the Swedish Police Union, told the force’s newpaper, Polistidningen, that many of the proposals pose a threat to the rule of law.

“If this goes through, there will unclear roles between police and civilian employees – which is not good for the general public or the organization.”

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