Swedish PM: We will break gang criminality

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Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Löfven, held an emergency meeting with his security policy council on Thursday to discuss how to break the power of the criminal gangs behind a spate of shootings in the country's troubled suburbs.

"Gang criminality will be broken", Löfven said after an emergency meeting with the government's security policy council. 

The council, set up in 2014, includes Löfven, four other top government ministers and their undersecretaries. The heads of Sweden's National Police Force, Economic Crime Authority, and National Tax Agency also took part in Thursday's meeting.  

Violence in general is falling in Sweden, but shootings are at a historical high.

Figures from 2015 show that 118 people were injured by gunshots, compared to 62 in 2008. Most incidents have been linked to criminals shooting other criminals, but family members and bystanders have also been affected.

The prime minister said no one should need to be afraid of shootings or gang criminality. "Being a criminal should be unpleasant," he said, pointing to the suburb of Södertälje, south of Stockholm, as a good example of how to work against organised crime.

Sweden's home affairs minister, Anders Ygeman, said that the government intends to increase the police's focus on fighting crime in Sweden's 15 "especially vulnerable areas". 

The government said that spending on police operations against criminal gangs would be increased in the spring budget, which will be announced on April 18th.