Lack of time and unclear guidelines have been blamed.
Lack of time and unclear guidelines have been blamed. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Anti-terror helpline failed to answer calls

Minister: Directive wasn't followed
1:19 min

The telephone number set up to help people worried about violent extremism has been severely criticised by a new report, which says many worried relatives were unable to get through.

Few people know that the helpline exists, and of the 701 calls actually made to the line fewer than half have been answered.

This includes 61 calls from people worried that family members are being radicalized.

The helpline was set up by the National Coordinator against Violent Extremism, and run by the Red Cross. But the coordinator’s office has seen serious disruption recently.

Former Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin resigned in spring 2016, after being investigated for falsifying a pay statement for her bodyguard. Her replacement, a former minister from the centre-right Moderate Party, said she wanted to quit after just four weeks in the post. No replacement has been found by the Ministry for Culture and Democracy.

The minister for culture, Alice Bah Kuhnke, of the Green Party, has heavily criticised the former coordinator, Mona Sahlin.

"If the coordinator at the time had followed the directive form the government, which of course must be followed, the result would likely have been better," says Alice Bah Kuhnke to Swedish Radio.

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