Plans to build a new police station in Rinkeby have been put on hold because construction companies fear for the safety of their workforce in the migrant-dominated Stockholm suburb.
The city earmarked the site of a former nursing home as the location for the new station. But construction companies failed to bid for the project, not wanting to risk having to work in a neighbourhood notorious for gang and gun crime.
“It’s too dangerous to build a police station in the area,” SVT News was told by a number of police officers who wanted to remain anonymous.
“It would have to be guarded around the clock. This is because not only is there the risk of theft, but also the danger and threat to staff who will be working on the construction project,” the public broadcaster was told.
A new station employing 240 officers was due to be opened this summer in Rinkeby, with plans for the new building drawn up not long after the closure of the suburb’s previous police station in 2014.
Local imam Hagi Mohammed Farah expressed disappointment at the delay, telling SVT: “It’s a very difficult situation here at the moment with regards to justice and the rule of law.
“We need police here in order for people to feel safe. A police station acts as an important symbol in society, like a school or a health centre.”
In December, residents held a two-day rally to protest against rising violence in Rinkeby, where 90 per cent of people were either born abroad or to two foreign parents.
At the event – which was called after the suburb saw 22 murders take place in less than two years – speakers blamed politicians’ ‘inaction’, and colonialism for the violence plaguing Rinkeby.
Activists handed a list of demands to MPs, asking the government to provide “jobs, housing and schools”, invest in more psychosocial workers and psychiatrists, and for gun laws to be made even more restrictive.
Concerned about the nation’s image abroad, state broadcaster Sweden Radio recently aired a programme in English which claimed that No-Go Zones — dangerous suburbs where police fear to tread — don’t exist in the country.