In a few years, the number of violent Islamist extremists in Sweden has gone from hundreds to thousands, estimates Säpo. But who are these extremists? The knowledge is inadequate among the police and municipal officials working in the cities that Säpo points out, shows SVT News’s survey.
It is especially in some areas of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro as the concentration of violent Islamist extremists in Sweden is high, according to Säpos data.
Locally in these places, however, both police and municipal officials lack the necessary knowledge to be able to put in place preventive and control measures. There seems to be gaps in the knowledge transfer from Säpo.
Frustration in Stockholm City Hall
In Stockholm, Christina Kiernan is coordinator of violence-violent extremism. She has a background as a lawyer in the police, and will lead the work against extreme Islamists.
She is frustrated, because, just about that group, she lacks information.
– The information is difficult for a municipality to get. There are privacy rules that prevent the transfer of information.
Not familiar with any return
She acknowledges that at the moment there is no control over those returning from IS-controlled areas in the Middle East.
– No, we do not have that. We do not know about any return. We could be much better. There are lots of experiences from other countries, “says Christina Kiernan.
“We can not talk to each other today. It is completely unreasonable when you have terrorism in the other wave bowl.
Do you know how many violent Islamists there are in the Stockholm area?
The cities lack control
SVT News has been in contact with representatives of the police in the most vulnerable areas in the four designated cities. Nobody can answer how many IS sympathizers there are in each area – except in Örebro, where the police estimates the gap to between ten and fifteen people.
At the same time, Säpo estimates the number of violent Islamist extremists in Sweden to thousands, with a concentration to just the four cities Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro.
“We assemble an information package that is handed over to the police,” says Fredrik Hallström, deputy director of Säpos unit for ideologically motivated actors.
Säpo: Can not take responsibility for the police’s handling
According to Fredrik Hallström, however, the disclosure of information from Säpo to the police authority is a relatively new system that may have childhood diseases
– The new system for managing security information is not easy. It is classified information and the police must make a confidential assessment themselves if the information is to be provided by the authority or not.
“I can not take responsibility for how the police handle the information we provide, but we provide that information so that the police can communicate with the municipality.
Ygeman not satisfied
Interior Minister Anders Ygeman is surprised at the results that SVT has received. He says the police must get better information.
“I know that it works differently in different cities, but it works so badly, it’s not enough. The police can share this information today but it is obvious that we need to clarify it for the police.
Ygeman also believes that the police may be better informed than stated in SVT’s investigation.
– It may be that this question is addressed to wrong police officers. The police have been too bad to share information within the police. But the police should have this information and they must be better off sharing this information with social services and schools, “said Anders Ygeman.