Swedes Want More Surveillance

I have written recently about the appalling performance of the Swedish police during the investigation of the murder of Fuat Deniz.

CCTVA recent opinion poll suggests that the general public in Sweden is losing confidence in their police force. It’s interesting that the preferred solution is to increase the number of police, and to increase the surveillance of the public by the police.

Zonka has translated an article from the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. It’s not available in an online version, but the same poll is discussed in Svenska Dagbladet and Oscarshamn-Tidningen.

Swedish confidence in the police is dropping

The Swedish police are losing the confidence of the population they are supposed to serve. The Swedes want a more visible police force.

There’s a problem with the Swedes’ confidence in their police. There is still a majority of 58% who have great confidence to the law enforcement, but even so it is quite a stretch from the 73% who had great confidence to the police in 2002.

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This comes from a poll, made by the independent institution Forskningsgruppen for Samfund and Informationsstudier [FSI — Research group for Societal and Informational Studies], writes Dagens Nyheter.

The poll also shows that 22% clearly state that they have no or very little confidence in the police. In 2002 that number was 13%.

However, the study also investigated what it would take to increase the confidence. And apparently that’s more video-surveillance and more police on the streets.

A stunning 94% wish more police could be on the streets, and that is the highest percentage that FSI has ever measured since it was founded in 1971. 72% wish for more video surveillance, up from 48% in 1997.

Can you imagine 72% of the American public asking for more video surveillance by the police?

All right, maybe in Ann Arbor or Scarsdale. Just maybe. But not in Anytown, USA.

It must be one of those cultural differences. The average American is brought up to distrust his government, and would be more likely to pull out his concealed-carry for a little target practice on a CCTV camera than to ask for more of them.

22 thoughts on “Swedes Want More Surveillance

  1. Today’s murder in Copenhagen was recorded on a privately owned CCTV over a liquor shop and helped the police grab the “cultural enricher”. In this case he was one of the usual suspects, but sometimes the Danish TV2 aires such surveillance videos whereby witnesses can identify the perpetrator.
    I guess those CCTVs are hated and loved, depending….

  2. I can’t ask my wife this, since she’s away, so would any swedes present care to explain something for me? Here in the UK the long-standing model for a police force has been a civilian constabulary that maintains a large presence out amongst the general population, as opposed to the paramilitary force preferred by most of the continent. Is that the sort of arrangement the swedish forces have? Patrolling constables, who are essentially civilians, and so forth?

    If that’s the case then you’re probably suffering the same problem we have, with the police increasingly forced to work on paperwork, and increasingly herded into large out of town complexes as the government tries to re-organise the forces along a continental, paramilitary line. The constant refrain here is “more police!” since the local bobbies on the beat have all but disappeared. The answer would be to put them back on the beat, but that would mean giving up the lucrative funding that a continental-style paramilitary force would bring in from the EU…

    So. Yeah, if someone could explain in general terms I’d much appreciate it.

  3. Kepi —

    Ah, but that’s a private CCTV camera. Those are fairly common over here in the USA, also. They are less objectionable to me, since any businessmen whose premises are open to the public should reserve the right to watch his property in any manner he sees fit.

    It’s government surveillance that bothers me. Long experience teaches that abuse of government surveillance systems is not only possible, but almost inevitable.

    The UK leads the world in government-run CCTV surveillance.

  4. Archonix, as far as I know your description above covers the various Nordic police forces pretty well. Except that they used to be municipal forces until around 1950 (I think), then became national, state-administered under the Ministry of Justice, not the Ministry of Defence.
    For many years we have debated whether cops had legs, but the discussion is irrelevant now – no cops to be sighted at all.

  5. Baron, as far as I know we don’t have government (i.e. police) operated cameras anywhere in Denmark. But of course one could say that state-owned businesses like railways, highways, post offices etc. are examples to the contrary. Many pedestrian streets have CCTVs set up by private surveillance companies, funded by shop owners – not taxpayers.

  6. You guys might enjoy this site. Here’s his intro:

    A Journey into the mad, mad world of the British underclass and the Public sector, where nothing is too insane for it to be written down and copied in triplicate. VIEWS EXPRESSED PROBABLY DON’T REFLECT OFFICIAL POLICY. “This blog will do more to put people off calling the police than anything, other than actually calling the police.”

    The Policeman’s Blog

  7. Patrolling constables are nowdays NEVER seen in Sweden – they belonged to a species that became extinct some 30 years ago. The policeman of today are riding in cars and in pairs. In my home town Lund of approx 100 000 inhabitans I on three occasions in 2007 saw a police car. Swedish police do not cope with ordinary, everyday criminality like thefts, housbreakings, burglaries, bloodless robberies, and even, as we have seen, some murders. The Swedish Police will henceforward concentrate on traffic offences in the countryside and starting this autumn, on combatting discrimination, racism and xenophobia – so called hate crimes. The future will be full of convicted ‘Lionhearts’.
    Please visit the following link:

  8. All the cameras in the world will not be of any use if no one will respond to a crime in progress. While surveillance—in and of itself—does provide a modicum of deterrence, it is apprehension, conviction and imprisonment that does all the heavy lifting in terms of combatting crime. If such a response by law enforcement is not forthcoming, criminals will likely not pay much attention to any cameras. In light of how slack police response has become, Swedes would be far wiser to invest in baseball bats and pepper spray than cameras.

  9. Cultural differences indeed.

    The right to keep arms in one’s home is an integral part of U.S. culture and history, unlike Sweden (and Europe). We want the government to provide security(actually, “we” want the government to fix just about everything.)
    Some months ago, the Rödeby-shootings emerged. Briefly about it: A man living with his family in Rödeby, a small community in southern Sweden, had been bullied along with his family for having a disabled son by some 15-years old thugs. When he had had it, after having reported the bullies to the police 4 times with no results, he brought out his gun and fired at them as they drove in to his family’s site armed with bats. At present, he is facing a trial in which he will possibly be sentenced for murder.
    This scenario would be completely impossible on your side of the Atlantic. As protection of one’s family by firearms occurs daily in the states, it never occurs in Sweden. But when this taboo was broken in Sweden, just once, the results are not only a killed thug who gets what he deserves, but also the administrer of justice up for trial and the mourning of the people of his local community. We count on the government for protection. Americans count on themselves.
    Like I said – cultural differences indeed.
    An introduction of rights to keep arms in one’s home would reduce crime, and perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea. More surveillance would probably do so as well, a little.
    But what I most would prefer, would be a series of completely different measures. For instance: To switch back to our pre-70’s adaption-policies, which would be from “integration” to “assimilation”, deport repetedly criminal immigrants, abolish the obligation to civil service in other languages than Swedish, introduce restrictions of our extremist immigration policies, scrap the concept of “Dual Citizenship”, ban Islamic schools, introduce requirement to speak Swedish fluently for citizenship. And so on, and so on, in absurdum. The list of measures Sweden needs to get back on her feet contains involves literally thousands of measures…

  10. Strange that these people in charge don’t appear to have read their Orwell. They really should

    Putting up more cameras is a poor substitute for encouraging a culture that knows the difference between right and wrong.

    Christianity does that. Other religions? Use common sense. Being critical of religion fortunately has nothing to do with racism, and thus the provisions of the EU Framework Decision bears no relevance to telling the truth.

    Yup, I’m the blue-eyed Scandinavian here. What to say? Probably I’m damaged from working with computer programming where rules are rules, no questions asked 🙂

  11. So sad. Sweden was not always this way.

    From the Medieval Swedish poem “Song of Libery”:

    Frihet är det bästa ting
    som sökas all kan världen kring,
    den som frihet kan bära.
    Vill du vara dig själva huld
    du älska frihet mer än guld,
    ty frihet fölger ära…

    Gud haver givit dig sinne och själ,
    var hellre fri än annans träl,
    så länge du kan dig röra!

    I could translate that for you but I’ll leave that for an ethnic Swede to translate.
    (I really need to see a sign of life out of the land of my forefathers.)

  12. In case it’s not clear, my point in posting the poem is that those Swedes who recited that poem could never be accused of being sheep. It’s highly unlikely that they offloaded responsibility for their own personal safety to the ‘state’.

  13. On second thought, pushing a translation that I can do myself off on to another is unfair:

    Here’s the translation:

    Freedom is the finest thing
    That can be sought around this earth,
    Among men who can handle freedom.

    If you wll be true to yourself
    You will prize freedom more than gold,
    For freedom and honor go hand in hand….

    God has given you mind and soul,
    Be rather free than anyone’s thrall
    As long as you can move.

    Is the Sweden that produced these verses dead?

  14. The reason why the Swedish public wants more camera surveillance is because of the rising numbers of violent acts against the public. In 1986 was their 495 violent offences per every 100 000 citizen. In 2006 this number has rising to 1081 per every 100 000 citizens. In 1986 Sweden had Sweden judges convicted 49 people per every 100 000 citizens for sexual offences and in 2006 is the number 138 per every 100 000 citizens. This summer I walked the streets of Manhattan. I saw police cars almost every second street corner. In Stockholm City I can walk around for a day and not even see a security guard. Stockholm metropolitan police is almost invisible to the public.

    This New Year I was heading by taxi to New Years party and our taxi was attacked by young African and Arab Muslims throwing firecrackers at our car. This was no small firecrackers but large ones that easily can blow finger from a hand. Ten meters from us was a group of maybe ten police officers. The cops just looked at this incident and did nothing about it. The taxi behind us was also attacked. The gang with fire crackers even attacked pedestrians, but still the police just looked at them.

    A very small police force of maybe 20 polices was controlling thousands people, many drunk. If the police started to intervene they would have a storm angry Muslim immigrants coming down on them.

    This why the Swedish public wants more cameras.

  15. The swedish text is from Bishop Thomas Simonsson (c:a 1380 – 1443): Song of Freedom. Part of a play about Engelbrekt, one of our swedish freedom heroes. Said to be written in 1439, if wikipedia can be trusted.

  16. Reza, the highy-visible armed police force is one of the things Mayor Rudy Giuliani did to help defeat crime in New York. Mayor Bloomberg has followed Rudy’s footsteps on that, quite simply because it worked. Criminals may be depraved and immoral, but they’re not complete idiots.

    On the other hand, the crime in New York was more about everyday criminals than an ethnic battle.

    I’m not sure a more visible police presence would help in Sweden, and might even aggrivate an already bad situation. I can see where you’re coming from with wanting more cameras. The problem in Sweden feels more to me like a civil war brewing, and it really troubles me.

  17. First of all, Sorry about my terrible english. I hope you will understand my points, though
    In America have the state, county and city direct control over the police funding. If New York City need more police officers they just hightend taxes. The Swedish Police is a strictley government agencey which makes it impossible to control the local police. If Stockholm Police department need more hard cash to hire more police officers it’s a government call.

    Wikipedia explains how its works

    “In each of the 21 Counties of Sweden there is a separate County Police Department, which is headed by a County Police Commissioner. The principal agency for each of the departments is the respective County Police Authority, consisting of local politicians and the commissioner. The Commissioners and the members of the authority are all appointed by the Government of Sweden.The County Police Commissioners report to the Government of Sweden, not to the National Police Board and by this it may seem that the National Police Board is not actually involved in the county police matters. However, even if the County Police Departments is not formally subject the National Police Board, it is still the central administrative agency for them and in practice this gives it substantial influence. A parallel to this is also seen in the relationship between the Judicial system of Sweden and the Swedish National Courts Administration. Before 1998, the County Police Departments were supervised by the respective County Administrative Boards of Sweden, with the 21 County Governors as the highest authority for the police in each county.”
    From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_police

    Do you think the Swedish government give more cash to the 21 County police deparments? The answer is no. The government ask the County commissioner to use his tax-money better which means that the Country commissioner most close local police stations. The County commissioners have not even afford standard bulled proof vests. The police do drive expensive volvo cars. The main reason for this is to protect Swedish jobs at volvo factories. A Social democratic tradition. Added to this. A police officer in Sweden make almost no money. Some even make less money then then some kindergarten teachers.

    In the northen parts of Sweden there is maybe ten police officers that most provide security to an area that is five time geograficaly larger then Stockholm. Sweden has about 17 000 police officers and another 7000 civlian clerks working for the police. This means that large parts of Sweden has little or no security at all. The border control is almost zero so drug smugglers uses Sweden as hub to distribute to the rest of western Europe.

    More visible police presence would help in Sweden.Swedish police need also more funding to hire more police officers. The Swedish police need less “multicultural training” and more “shooting training”. The new conservative government do not take this matters seriously. This is the reason why more and more people start to buy protection instead from private companys like Securitas. Swedes only reports to the police to get their insurance money out.

    You have a point that if the Swedish police started to act as a policeforce instead of chickenforce they will have more riots as in France. But this is the only alternative and I think its better that we do something about the thugs instead of hidding in middle class suburbs and let private companies protect us.

    I think the “Nigh twatchman state” will fall first in Sweden. Long before the welfare state does. In most cases, like in America it would be in the other way around. Most Swedes do see the problems with rising crimes, Islam and immigration but they feel or rather they hope that the government will take care of it.

    Its important to understand that the swedish middle class is very much segregated from the crimes and misery in Sweden. In my parents housing area there is hardley any crimes.They live in ordinary middle class residential community just outside Stockholm city. They pay their taxes and study loan, driving their volvos and drinking their coffee before going to their jobs as bureaucrat clerks, office supervisors and teachers in a middleclass suburb or at the university. But even they are starting to see what is going on outside their community. The community has started to look at the possibility to buy security after some housebreakings. The middle class is starting to awake but still there is much to be done before there can be any change. Now I most go back to my studies reading tons of academic nonsense

  18. That sounds like the system we’re being bumped into at the moment. Until quite recently the police were funded by the borough council, and the entire organisation operated completely outside control of the government. They swore an oath to the queen and there was no national or regional police authority. Now they’re allied to the home office, the constabularies were all merged into county forces and those county forces are now being merged in to big regional forces, though they’re still paid for out of council taxes.

    Reza, your parents sound like my wife’s parents. They live in a little town outside Kalmar. Last time I was there I could feel a tension that wasn’t there before without even talking to anyone. There’s a little enclave of muslims moved into the new apartments near where her parents live and crime has gone up since then from what I’ve heard. Didn’t see a policeman the entire time I was there, either.

  19. I think the best way to counter Islam in Sweden is to enforce law. The crime rate in Sweden has Skyrocketing the last twenty years. Various governmental rapports have proven that they which commit crimes are immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, many of the Muslims. The Swedish police aren’t blind, they just lack of funding. For a couple of years ago the police started to do various arrest in the southern part of Stockholm after ha serious of attacks on the subway and commuter train platforms. This was not very popular. The reason was that the police prevented people from riding with out paying so they could not get to inner parts of the city. Because of this the crimes in the inner circle of Stockholm city was reduced. The public was happy with this police act but the Stockholm police commissioner was accused of being racist and targeting “immigrant groups” so they simple stopped. The private security companies moved in when the police left the ghettos of Stockholm, but soon the security companies noted that their staff was not save so they wanted more money or they would leave, they left.

    Nowadays we see the result. Busses are attacked by stones and violent attacks on the platforms and inside the trains. There have been no improvements. This New Year the Rinkeby subway station was closed after rocket fired inside.

    Most Swedes are not affected by crime because they live in suburbs far away from the ghettos. I see more diversity in New York, London, Paris and Berlin then I see In Stockholm. The reason is the ethnic segregation. Swedes tend to vote with their feet’s so they flee to the residential suburbs. The Swedish government and of course local governments do not like this segregation, this wasn’t in their diversity plan so they start to build houses and apartments for Swedes in the concrete suburbs. The politician’s intension is drawing the middle class to the concrete suburbs and creates this melting pot they are dreaming about. This housing project has failed. The middle class rejected the houses. The immigrant families that have some money also reject this housing projects and move to middle class suburbs instead.

    This is what happing in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö

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