Swedish police units could be dispatched to neighbouring countries in the Nordic region if they happen to be closer to an incident starting next year, according to Sweden’s Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman.
This would mainly benefit rural areas in the far north where there are fewer officers, says Ygeman, who will put forward the bill later this year.
“If something happens in (the far northern town of) Haparanda and the closest police unit is in Finland they should be able to assist and make arrests. And if something happens on the Finnish side of the border, a Swedish unit should be able to do the same,” says Ygeman.
Ygeman also says that police in the Nordic countries would be able to patrol together and pool their resources if they knew that a big event involving more than one country, like a soccer game, would require many officers.
Union supports initiative
The Swedish Police Union is positive and sees many advantages to the proposed changes.
“This idea of more cooperation is something that we have been asking for. It is particularly welcomed when it comes to the more rural parts of the country, but it’s important that we know exactly what we can and can’t do and how we are supposed to act outside of Sweden,” says Hasse Olsson at the police union.
Swedish police are already allowed to follow a suspect across the border and make an arrest, but this change would give them more authority and the possibility to do more operations outside of Sweden. Officers from other Nordic countries would, however, still be commanded by a Swedish officer.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Finnish-Swedish police launch cross-border cooperation, Barents Observer
Russia: Service reindeer for police in Russia’s Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Reports of violent crime increasing in Sweden’s North, Radio Sweden
United States: New police unit to fight violent crime in west Alaska, Alaska Dispatch News