How can Sweden get gang violence under control?
Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addressed parliament on Thursday with a government statement on gang violence in the country. He presented a strategy that includes body search zones, facial recognition and a legal provision that guarantees anonymity for witnesses in a bid to bring the problem, which has recently cost several lives, under control. The involvement of the military is also under discussion.
Ineffective laws must be upgraded
For Expressen, Sweden’s legislation is not up to the task:
“In international comparison, the penalties are too mild and Sweden is basically the only country in the EU that has not made being part of a criminal network illegal. In the fight against this systemic threat, the Swedish police lack effective laws to take action against the masterminds of the networks, something which is a matter of course in other constitutional states. ... The same applies to technical tools. The police are forbidden to use effective methods such as licence plate recognition. And while criminal networks use encryption services and artificial intelligence, the Swedish authorities are denied any machine support in their control systems.”
Military deployments not a good strategy
Dagens Nyheter doubts that the military of all things could be part of the solution:
“Using the army to fight the gangs sounds radical, but in and of itself it is neither controversial nor effective. The state’s monopoly on the use of force is one and the same thing; threats must be met where they arise. But the instruments of the armed forces are negligible compared to those of the police, customs, social services, correctional institutions and schools.”
Prevent problems now
Finland must learn from the mistakes of its neighbouring country, Ilta-Sanomat demands:
“The authorities warn that the effects of Swedish drug trafficking and organised crime are already reaching Finland. ... The causes for the worsening situation also exist in Finland. ... The warnings in Finland regarding the situation in Sweden should not be dismissed as racist or populist rhetoric. In view of the dangerous developments it is worth pausing and learning from Sweden’s mistakes. The situation in Finland is not yet like that in Sweden. There is still time to influence the trend.”