Finland Interior Minister: More Police in Suburbs to Stop Sweden-style ‘Culture of Violence’ Taking Root

A police officers passes the scene of cars gutted by fire in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby after youths rioted in several different suburbs around Stockholm, Sweden for a fourth consecutive night on May 23, 2013. In the suburb of Husby, where the riots began on Sunday in response to …

Finland’s interior minister has proposed a greater police presence in migrant-populated suburbs in order to avoid the problems neighbouring Sweden has faced in recent years.

Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen has said that he wants to beef up the number of police in suburbs and have them work with social services to avoid the potential buildup of criminal gangs in areas with high populations of migrant-background residents, Finnish public broadcaster Yle reports.

According to Mykkänen, a similar programme has been implemented in the Varissuo suburb of the city of Turku and has seen a large degree of success. He noted that the co-operation between police and local social workers allowed them to tackle problems with young migrant-background individuals as they happened.

Mykkänen said that around 96 criminal gangs currently operate in Finland with the largest being motorcycle gangs. “It is largely international motorcycle gangs that are primarily concerned with drug trafficking, and that trade is increasing,” he said.

“In Swedish suburbs, we see a worse culture of violence linked to drug trafficking and robberies, with a wide recruitment of vulnerable young people,” he said.

“There is a risk that we have a similar situation in Finland in ten years.”

Organised criminal gangs, many of which operate in heavily migrant populated no-go “vulnerable areas”, became one of the focal issues of the Swedish national election that took place earlier this month.

Fatal shootings have increased over the last decade, with many, including a mass shooting in Malmo earlier this year, being blamed on organised criminal gangs.

The violence has led to Sweden becoming one of the top markets in Europe for illegal weapons from the Balkans, according to Bosnian prosecutor Goran Glamocanin, who said: “The Swedish market is the most attractive in Europe. It is because of the high demand.”

Hand grenades have also become a weapon of choice for criminal gangs, and according to police officer Gunnar Appelgren, the co-ordinator of the Stockholm police force’s gang conflict programme, such weapons are easy to procure on the streets.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)




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