By: V4 Agency
Shootings, knife attacks, blasts, grenades, automatic weapons and gang wars. Sweden is hard to recognise these days, a Swedish policeman says, adding that they are completely helpless against gang wars. Another officer has launched a petition calling on the government to improve their working conditions. The recent death of a colleague’, who was shot in the open street, was the last straw.
Residents in the Swedish town of Gothenburg hail from 184 countries, all bringing their own culture and customs, says Ulf Bostrom, who has been a police officer for 16 years and also worked in the integration department in some of the “problematic” districts of the city.
Immigrants bring with them their political convictions and customs from their homeland, he says. If a patriarchal culture was common in their country of origin, they will preserve it in their circles. If in the past they lived according to Islam’s culture of honour and sharia, they will do the same in Sweden, he explains. Although all this can enrich Sweden, he also points out that there are things that are incompatible with Swedish laws.
Ulf Bostrom says that the city has been torn apart in so many different ways that one can no longer recognise it. Law enforcement has to tackle a growing number and new types of criminal acts that were uncommon earlier but appeared in the city as a result of mass immigration.
The same goes for gang wars, that Mr Bostrom also blames on immigration. Shootings, knife attacks, blasts, grenades, automatic weapons, and gang wars, this is not the Sweden I recognise, the officer says.
All this has happened because Swedes allowed it happen by placing confidence in politicians who lack the adequate competence and knowledge to manage these problems, he argues.
Ms Boström told Sweden’s state television (SVT) as early as in June that police were almost completely helpless against the crime gangs. In its report, SVT pointed out that an increasing number of violent gangs were attacking businesses across Sweden. They blackmail store owners and issue regular death threats against them.
“You can pay or you can resist and your life is completely ruined,” said Mr Boström, adding that the problem has grown out of proportion and police are unable to resolve it. If someone does not have a large family to protect them, they have no chance, the officer said, and his eyes brimmed with tears as he talked about the victims.
A recent tragedy has also brought Gothenburg’s plight into the focus of attention. In late June, a 33-year-old police officer was shot dead while on duty on the street. The suspect is a 17-year-old gang member, Sakariye Ali Ahmed, who was convicted two years ago of attempted murder. Then, at the age of 15, he knifed a man on the tram, but he was only sentenced to one and a half years in prison because of his young age.
Following the events, police have launched a petition demanding that the government should take swift and decisive action to improve the working conditions of law enforcement officers.
The petition was initiated by Hannah Bergelin, who has worked as a police officer for 18 years. “The criminal gangs do not respect human life, citizens or us, the police”, she told SVT, adding that she could have been easily killed too, just like her murdered colleague.
The 20-point petition, which has already been signed by more than 1,700 police officers, contains suggestions by police for restoring the agency’s prestige. They include the introduction of expedited court proceedings, the criminalisation of resisting police action and of antisocial behaviour. Ms Bergelin said her petition aims to draw the government’s attention to the plight of the police, putting more pressure on politicians, too.