34-point programme – Government measures to combat gang crime

Published

On 21 September 2019, the Government presented 34 new measures to combat gang crime. This is the largest package of measures to combat gang crime ever in Sweden and includes both short- and long-term measures.

In combination with the historic expansion of the Swedish Police Authority by 10 000 employees by 2024, the stricter penalties that have already been introduced, and the additional SEK 2.4 billion invested in the judicial system in 2020, these new measures are further intensifying the fight against crime in Sweden.

The 34 points cover four areas: law enforcement tools, sanctions, breaking the culture of silence and crime prevention.

Law enforcement tools

  1. The police will be permitted to read encrypted communications on, for example, apps and chat platforms that are often used within criminal networks.
  2. The police will be able to use secret coercive measures in more cases to fight serious organised crime.
  3. The police will have greater scope to search premises in their work to combat shootings and other serious crime.
  4. Mandatory remand for more offences, such as robbery, gross assault and gross extortion. We must get serious criminals off the streets.
  5. Faster prosecution of criminal offences throughout the country. A pilot project has demonstrated that it is possible to investigate and prosecute minor offences both faster and with greater quality. This also frees up police and prosecutor resources for more serious offences.
  6. The regulatory framework for security guards will be reviewed, partly based on the need to free up resources for the Swedish Police Authority to use in higher priority police work.
  7. Camera surveillance using automatic vehicle and number plate recognition will be facilitated at our borders to prevent transnational crime and gang crime.
  8. Multi-agency cooperation to fight serious organised crime will be enhanced.
  9. It must be easier to confiscate the proceeds of crime from criminal gangs. Crime must not pay.
  10. More crimes committed by children will be investigated. The regulations concerning these investigations will be reviewed and improved to ensure that a high level of quality is maintained.

    Sanctions

  11. Reduced sentences will be abolished for young adults who commit serious and repeated offences. Such offences will be met with a stronger response than previously.
  12. An inquiry will review whether exclusion orders are possible within the framework of the system of sanctions.
  13. Additional funding to placements under the Care of Young Persons Act. It is essential that, where necessary, municipalities can increase the number of placements under the Care of Young Persons Act.
  14. The National Board of Institutional Care will provide more care places and improved quality in its activities so that fewer young people relapse into crime after their care placement is completed.
  15. Stricter penalties for anyone recruiting young people to criminal activities, in order to prevent the recruitment of new gang members.
  16. Stricter penalties for offences linked to disputes among criminals. Innocent people must be protected and cycles of revenge broken.
  17. Stricter penalties and greater scope for Swedish Customs to stop the flow of weapons and explosives.
  18. Stricter penalties for anyone selling narcotics to others.
  19. Anyone who does not take part in relapse prevention measures may have their conditional release postponed and thus serve a longer prison sentence.
  20. A new sanction – youth supervision – for young people is being introduced. For example, the young person may be forbidden to leave home in the evenings and at night at weekends, and this will be monitored using an electronic ankle tag. The aim is to apply this sanction in the event of serious offences or serious relapse.
  21. The need for legislative amendments concerning false witness statements during police interviews will be investigated.

    Breaking the culture of silence

  22. To encourage more suspects to assist in criminal investigations, a crown witness system – that is, incentives for criminals to testify against each other – is being investigated.
  23. Increased penalties for obstruction of justice. It is unacceptable that witnesses and victims of crime are subjected to violence or threats.
  24. Increased penalties for lying in court and for protecting a criminal will be investigated.
  25. The protection of witnesses and their relatives will be reviewed. The possibility to testify anonymously will be investigated.
  26. Enhanced witness protection programmes to encourage witnesses of crime to testify in court.

    Crime prevention

  27. A cross-party committee of inquiry is being appointed to present proposals on long-term measures to increase security and reduce crime.
  28. Long-term investments in schools and social services in socially disadvantaged areas. Action to combat segregation, within the framework of the Swedish Agency against Segregation, will be significantly enhanced.
  29. Social services must be able to intervene earlier and in more situations. Children and young people in need of social measures may miss out on them if their parents do not consent and the criteria for compulsory care are not met.
  30. Social services must be available in the evenings and at weekends in socially disadvantaged areas.
  31. Municipalities must be given a statutory responsibility to act to prevent crime. 
  32. Coordinated measures for children and young people at risk will be implemented. The aim is to improve collaboration between school health and welfare services, health care services and social services for at-risk groups in socially disadvantaged areas.
  33.  A national defector programme will improve support and coordination for anyone wanting to leave criminal gangs.
  34. Action to combat money laundering must be made more effective and efficient.