The Swedish police force in southern Lapland, an area the size of Denmark, has been reduced to only one police car due to limited resources leaving officers concerned they will not be able to respond properly to crimes.
The police in the area requested that they should have at least two patrol cars in the large region which has a population of tens of thousands of people. Police management decided that only one car was needed and after local police disputed the judgement in court, a judge has ruled in favour of police management, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Chief Security Officer Jan Johansson said there was a danger for a single patrol car acting alone far from any potential additional police support. He also noted that it would be even more difficult to deal with domestic abuse cases in the area and that officers might not be able to properly respond to them.
“In that situation, we must have two police cars, one who can take care of the perpetrator and one who can immediately sit down with the woman and talk to her,” he said adding that if police are not present the woman usually takes back her claim.
Johansson said he was “surprised” at the judge’s decision noting that the area the single patrol car would have to cover was almost the size of Denmark.
“It is stated in the law that we must fulfil our duty and provide protection to the public. But we can not do with the resources we have at this time,” he said and added: “It’s only a matter of time before something serious happens.”
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Swedish police have been denied needed resources in other areas of the country as well in recent months. In the heavily migrant populated Järva area, which is home to many of Sweden’s “vulnerable areas”, also known as no-go zones, the last remaining police station is set to close.
A report last year claimed that as many as 80 per cent of the police in Sweden were considering quitting the profession entirely due to the danger of working in no-go zones, the limited resources available, and complaints about pay.
The situation has become so desperate that earlier this year, Swedish National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson begged the government for help as the number of no-go zones increased along with a 550 per cent rise in hand grenade attacks.