Migration Agency reports more potential security threats
With more refugees coming to Sweden, the Swedish police intelligence service Säpo has increased co-operation with the Migration Agency to try to detect any suspected terrorists or spies among those who come here, news agency TT reports.
In the last three months, the Migration Agency has reported 152 suspected terrorists or spies to Säpo. That is more than all of last year.
Säpo is primarily looking for people with links to violent islamist groups such as IS, to try to stop them from using Sweden as a base for future terrorist acts. But they are also looking for spies working for foreign intelligence bodies, who may be sent out to spy on the refugees coming here.
When the Migration Agency receives indications that a person who has applied for asylum may be a threat to national security, Säpo is contacted. Sometimes this leads to further investigation. The number of cases has increased significantly this year.
During the first six months of 2015, there were 134 such cases reported, and that is more than during the whole of last year. Since then the increase has been dramatic. During July, August and September, the Migration Agency has sent information on 152 people potentially posing a risk.
"It has to do with the increase of the total number of asylum seekers. It is quite obvious that when the numbers are going up, like we see right now, we will also see a number of cases that we find are important for the security services to take a look at," says Oskar Edblad, a manager of operations at the Migration Agency.
He stresses that just because there are more refugees arriving in Sweden at the moment, it does not mean that the risk of a terror threat is going up. But also, the fact that there are more people coming means that the Migration Agency needs more resources to deal with this aspect of the situation.
New regional organisations are currently being set up, with case workers who are specialised in the screening process in terms of security threats.
"We have introduced new co-operation with the security services and are rolling out a system of regional functions that will sort, screen and support all of our case officers in finding people in this flow that might pose a risk to the security of Sweden," said Oskar Ekblad.
Most cases do not lead to any further action. This year, Säpo has objected to giving permanent residence permit to some 20 people, TT reports.