The police force in Sweden wants hire a greater number of immigrants to adjust to the increasingly diverse population in the country. Law enforcement authorities are optimistic Swedes seeing more immigrants in police uniforms will give the force new “street cred.”
The initiative called the World Integrated into Swedish Police Project aims to increase ethnic diversity in every level of law enforcement.
“We need a lot more diversity in the police, applying to everything from ethnicity to different experiences and backgrounds,” Carin Götblad, who leads the World Integrated into Swedish Police project, said in a press release.
Only 6 percent of Swedish police officers had an immigrant background as of Tuesday, compared to 17 percent of Swedes who are of immigrant descent nationally.
Sweden’s police departments had been accused of not employing enough officers, resulting in lower crime detection, local reports said Tuesday. But the police force hopes hiring more ethnic minorities will allow it to patrol “no-go zones” in Swedish cities — neighborhoods largely occupied by ethnic minorities that are riddled with unemployment and crime. Previously, Swedish law enforcement officers shied away from entering these parts of the city because they often were greeted with people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at them.
There are reportedly 55 “no-go zones” in the country, RT reported Sept. 25. Because of the substantial level of abuse police experience in these areas, an average of three Swedish officers asked to resign from the force daily. Four of five Swedish police officers have contemplated changing their professions because of the significant risk associated with regulating these areas where patrol cars sometimes are set ablaze.
In a survey asking Swedes about their confidence in the police force in November, 47 percent of respondents said they were highly confident, a Sifo poll published earlier this month indicated. But when pollsters asked Swedes the same question in March, 61 percent of respondents said they had high confidence in the police.
“There have been discussions in the countryside where people say that there are no police. There were fatal shootings in Malmö and Gothenburg. There has been an intense debate about what the police can deliver, if they can get there, and which crimes are prosecuted,” Sifo opinion polls head Toivo Sjörén told reporters.
Following a summer plagued by an unprecedented number of sexual harassment cases during music festivals, the region of Skane, which is a six-hour drive south of Stockholm, requested help from the Stockholm police force because they had run out of homicide detectives.
The number of crimes reported in Sweden increased 2 percent in 2016 compared to last year. Through the first six months of 2016, there were 764,000 crimes reported in Sweden, including hundreds of rapes, murders and attempted murders. Sweden’s police force had a crime detection rate of 14 percent in 2016, the lowest in 16 years.
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