Police officers who work in the infamous Stockholm district of Tensta, must tolerate being subjected to stone throwing. They are therefore not entitled to receive damages after having had stones hurled at them, according to a recent verdict by the Swedish court.
The Swedish judiciary is trying to adapt to a new reality; in reality in what the Swedish media call "vulnerable areas", or no-go zones, where Swedish law hardly applies and emergency personnel regularly are attacked. However, violence against police is apparently now the new normal.
The verdict from Solna District Court revolves around an immigrant gang who threw large quantities of stones and bottles at a couple of policemen. According to the verdict, no policemen will receive compensation - because they work in Tensta, and therefore should have "been mentally prepared for what happened."
That many police officers are upset over the decision is understandable. But unfortunately, the verdict seems to be in line with the law. In addition to several other cases, Svea Court of Appeal has previously with a similar case denied compensation to police officers who had been threatened by a man who ran straight at them with knives in his hands, reports Expressen.
This verdict is not only a problem for the professionals who get to experience the double violation it means to be first subjected to a serious crime, and then - unlike others - denied damages. It is ultimately also a danger to society.
One of the greatest problems is the flight from the frontline of welfare. State and local authorities are experiencing increasing difficulties in recruiting police officers, social workers, teachers and health workers, especially in particularly "vulnerable areas" in Sweden. More and more of this difficult and important work is now performed by newly trained and inexperienced staff.
The recruitment problems are really not so surprising. It's about hard work, often for low pay, and for some, in environments that are becoming more and more risky. If the court in addition takes the number of threats and attacks as a pretext to deny them the damages, it will get even more difficult to motivate staff to work in these places.
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson should therefore immediately propose to change the law, so that more police officers can receive damages, or he risks that they all quit.
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