Sweden is struggling to find new police recruits, and a government inquiry has proposed removing the personality and intelligence tests for police academy applicants as a means of boosting recruitment numbers. The current psychological and fitness tests would remain, but school grades and Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (Högskoleprovet) results would be given heavier weighting.
This proposal has now been sharply criticised by the Swedish Defence Recruitment agency, the Prosecution Authority, the Swedish Bar Association and the national auditor.
The government inquiry relies to a great extent on a thesis written by psychologist Stefan Annell of the Swedish Defence Recruitment agency, which handles the recruitment process for the police. But Annell himself said his research has been misinterpreted.
“I would say that they appear to have slid somewhat in their interpretation, it’s not representative of my thesis overall,” Annell told Swedish Radio.
Annell said the police profession requires highly specific qualities, and that his own as well as international research shows that personality tests and intelligence tests combined with fitness tests are the best way of judging a person’s aptitude for becoming a police officer.
The head of the government inquiry, Petra Lundh, said the motivation for the proposal would be to make the admission more similar to other university courses.
“By doing this we incorporate police training with the universities, and there are no other courses that have this type of tests, and we have been in full agreement on this in the group. I have had experts both from the universities and from the police,” Lundh told Swedish Radio.
The Swedish Police Union would prefer creating an alternative admission route to the police academy, with a certain quota of applicants being assessed through interviews.
“Good grades do not mean you will become a good police officer and vice versa. You could be an excellent recruit without having high grades in upper-secondary school, and that is why the Police Union advocates an alternative route so that we do not miss out on good colleagues in the future,” said Police Union chair Lena Nitz.