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Alienation Sweden: How police in a Swedish city design patrols based on cultural and ethnic origins

Monday, 20 June 2011
Local police in Huddinge sent out an email to residents, engaged in the project, neighbourhood watch, in which the mail warned them of people of certain nationalities that they are more prone to committing crimes in the area. One receiver of the mail has reported the matter to the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman (JO).

On the e-mail, dated 14 June 2011, the local police write among other things that:
"We see a possible trend of increase in burglaries in the district; we would call for heightened attention in your neighbourhood! After May and early June, it has  been a little quieter on the burglary front, but now there is a marked increase, particularly in surrounding districts, which usually tends to mean that an increase is going on here in the city of S�dert�m."

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Then the mail specify that the people of three nationalities - one South American and two Eastern European should be observed closely as  S�derort police suspected the residencies of involvement in acquisitive crime and residential burglary.

The email, entitled "Warning Mailings to those who are involved in neighbourhood watch," did not fall on fertile ground as one of the recipients, has now made a complaint to the Ombudsman ad writes:
"Got this on neighbourhood watch by the police. Questions whether it is ok to single out ethnic groups in this way. "

This is not the first time the Swedish police carry out policing tactics based on racial profile. In places like Malm� in southern Sweden where racism is almost legitimate, police focus on certain ethnic groups even though Swedish criminal gangs might be shooting each other or blowing up a hotel, restaurant or a car.

However, early critics argue that the police could provide upfront advice for such group to look out for certain people who are under their radar. It could be seen as an advice and not that the police is singling out a particular group. The critics also point that maybe the approached used by the police was wrong by pointing to their origins but there is likely not much case in this complaint. The doubt is whether the police would have said ‘svenska’ if the suspects were Swedish.
By Scancomark.se Team



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