Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Swedish Police Force Gets Some Help – After 25 Years

Well, it only took 25 years but finally Sweden has taken a step in the right direction when it comes to fighting organized crime, even your common drug deal, which I suppose is less common in Sweden. The Swedish government has finally decided to allow the police and investigators to bug people. Hidden microphones are now a legitimate tool in fighting crime.

This decision came after the issue was first brought up 25 years ago. Oh the beauty of the Swedish Model, just a beacon of governmental efficiency in a world full of red tape. And what did they do in all those crime movies, they must have been seriously lacking in tense moments when someone went undercover with a microphone. Would they get caught? Would it work? Oh shit.

Obviously, this decision was met with fear and conspiracy theories of the abuse that would follow. Which is why the government made sure to set some guidelines. Wouldn’t want anything to get out of hand. Hidden microphones can only be used in crimes that, with a conviction, would give four or more years of jail time. And the government has also said that hidden microphones will only be used in about 40 cases per year. Yup, they even decided how many times this tool should be used over the course of the year. It wasn’t decided that it should be up to the discretion of the police, instead an arbitrary number was picked. Sweet.

Currently in southern Sweden, Göteborg, or Gothenburg, has been beset by a series of shootings in the last few days, which the police suspect to be gang related. Seems like this might be a good time to use these microphones. Of course, wouldn’t want to use them too early. If sweet, innocent little Sweden suddenly has to deal with this sort of thing on a regular basis then 40 hidden microphones just aren’t going to be enough. The police director chose not to comment on that number though. Which could be taken as placid acceptance or quiet denial.

I just don’t really understand this Swedish mindset. This idea that criminals should be protected to such an extent that hidden microphones are automatically assumed to be a dangerous tool that only leads to misuse is mindboggling to me. There is a difference between violating someone’s natural rights of citizenship and working to prevent grave crimes. And honestly, when people are committing these crimes they forfeit some of their rights. One of which usually ends up being in the form of a prison sentence. To handcuff the police from doing their job by not allowing simple, yet effective, tools like hidden microphones is ridiculous. Sweden finally realized that.


  1. i wont even get into their policies on protecting the dangerous people...f'ng rediculous if u ask me!

  2. In Swedish style the police should have a sticker on his jacket which says: 'mic included'. Just like they warn about speed radars and cameras in the streets.

    Another thing: while police saves mics for a 'rainy day' and not uses them, in December they will use the rest for no-matter-how-important purposes, because the counter is reset at New Year's day with another set of mic raids. Doesn't sound wise to me...

  3. Seriously, they struggle a bit don't they.

    I love your idea smek this! That would be the epitome of the Swedish way!

  4. My newest post is for you mrs. cecrux. Enjoy.

  5. It has to do with some less wholesome ideas the goverment used to have a few years back about bugging and checking up on political opponents. Basically they lied and tried to cover up that they'd done it, causing a massive backlash. Any bugging from then on in was very much a no-no issue, luckily police seem to have gotten a few methods in place to solve crimes without electrical tapping.

  6. honestly, I think bugging has its place in fighting crime. of course there is always the fear that it will be abused, but there have to be ways to address that without an outright ban.


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