Polisen. The police. It’s kind of a disconcerting thing to see pop up on your cell phone. Especially when they are sending you text messages. Notice the s. Multiple text messages from the Swedish police.
Last week I wandered over to my friendly neighborhood police station. I needed a new passport. Mine was falling apart, which I was reminded of after being berated by the friendly EasyJet employee at Arlanda (the worst airport in the world) who said that because we were in Sweden she would let me fly on it, but she couldn’t make any guarantees when trying to get back into the country. Of course, aside from this Swedish ray of sunshine, no one in France or Switzerland seemed to be too concerned about it.
Anyway, I decided it was time to upgrade my passport and, because it has been almost three years since I moved to Sweden, to pick up a Swedish ID card. Really the only reason I need this is so I don’t have to take my passport with me to the liquor store. Strangely enough, the receding hairline and my beard suggest to the people working there that I might be under the age of twenty so I am constantly asked to show ID. And they won’t accept an American one.
I’ve heard horror stories of people trying to get an ID and spending inordinate amounts of time trying to convince the Swedish police that they are who they say they are. Not for me though. The benefits of already having a Swedish passport. The process was incredibly easy.
I walked into the police station, took a kölapp, of course, and sat down. Ten minutes later I was speaking with the good looking blonde, of course, police officer. She explained that for the low low cost of 400 SEK I could get a new passport and for another 400 SEK I could get an ID card. I was convinced. So I stared in the camera and waited for the clicks.
But I got antsy and moved after the first click. Turns out I don’t take directions well. The second time was the charm though and I was well on my way to being very official. 970 days later. The good looking police officer then asked for my phone number. Which I promptly gave her. She explained that my ID’s would be ready for pick up in a little over a week or so and that they would let me know by phone. I winked and nudged her and said sure, sure, whatever you need to tell the chief. That’s not true; I thanked her and left quietly. Come on now.
Three days later, I was receiving text messages from Polisen. My ID was ready to be picked up. My passport was ready to be picked up. The good looking police officer did not send me a text message.
I was impressed by the entire process. In just a few days I had brand new forms of ID and am now ready when they ask me if I’ve got ID at Systembolaget. Plus I’m constantly amazed at the use of text messages in this country. I shouldn’t be, considering you can file your taxes via text message, but still, it gets me every time.
Welcome to Sweden. And a technologically savvy police force.