Swedish government in crisis talks with police over gang shootings

Sweden’s police will meet the government with regard to gang shootings. (Reuters pic)

STOCKHOLM: Swedish authorities will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday over a wave of gang shootings in cities that have made crime a central issue for voters ahead of September’s election.

Crime in Sweden is moderate compared to neighbouring countries. but 43 people were killed in shootings last year, a record high and up from eight in 2006.

“There have been a lot of shootings and deaths in a short time,” Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told Sweden’s national news agency TT. He will meet National Police Commissioner Anders Thornberg.

Six men were shot and three killed in a drive-by shooting in the southern city of Malmö in mid-June.

Police said there were three to four ongoing gang conflicts in Malmö and the victims belonged to one of the factions. There have been two more shooting deaths in Malmö since then.

This week a further two men were shot dead in Örebro, a town west of Stockholm.

Sweden has one of the highest levels of lethal gun violence in Europe, World Health Organisation data showed. Police say an increase in gang violence is mitigated by a decrease in other types of lethal crime.