Amidst the dramatic spike in violent crime, often linked to immigrant gang activities, Sweden is setting its sights on a new ally - its military. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, in a recent proclamation, expressed intentions to beckon the nation's military to join forces with the police, addressing the alarming rise in shootings and bombings.
As per a report from the Financial Times, the Prime Minister is also considering modifying the legislative framework, potentially empowering the military with an augmented role in policing activities.
Reflecting on the surging violence, Kristersson laid part of the blame on the nation's immigration policies. The escalating menace has even been likened by police authorities to the unrest during World War II, marking it as one of the gravest security situations in contemporary times.
Kristersson stressed on the unprecedented nature of the issue, stating, "I cannot emphasize enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like it before. No other country in Europe sees anything like it currently.”
He pointed fingers at political naivety and poorly executed integration policies for the grim scenario.
“It is political naivete and cluelessness that has brought us here,” he continued. “It is an irresponsible immigration policy and failed integration effort that has brought us here.”
Diving deeper into the intricacies, he highlighted the vulnerability of Swedish children and teenagers, who are becoming easy targets for these criminal gangs. Owing to milder punishments for underage culprits, gangs manipulate the young into their malevolent endeavors.
“Social exclusion and parallel societies feed the criminal gangs. There they can ruthlessly recruit children and train them as future killers,” Kristersson said.
The proposal to deploy the military to curtail gang violence has garnered support from multiple political quarters. Even Magdalena Andersson, Sweden's preceding Prime Minister from the center-left faction, gave her nod, emphasizing the potential synergies and technical expertise that the military can offer.
“Surveillance performed by police officers could be carried out by the military. In addition, there is technical know-how with the military that they could assist with,” the former prime minister said.
This consensus comes in the aftermath of a particularly harrowing 24-hour stretch that saw three fatalities due to shootings and bombings. The week also bore witness to two devastating explosions in proximity to the capital and in Linkoping, injuring several. Swedish newspapers link these bombings to the ongoing gang violence.
Underscoring the dire situation, National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg illustrated the violence’s breadth, noting several distressing incidents, including the tragic killing of young boys and public executions, the Guardian reported.
“Citizens are afraid, insecurity is increasing. And this at a time when we have raised our terrorist alert level in the country.”