Justice Department Proposes Expanded Powers for Preventive Measures to Tackle Serious Crimes

The Swedish government is considering significant changes to empower law enforcement in their battle against serious crimes. Today, the government received a proposal that recommends broader capabilities for crime-fighting authorities to utilize preventive coercive measures. This proposal, constituting the second part of the Inquiry on Preventive Coercive Measures, aims to enhance the tools available to authorities for curbing certain severe criminal activities.

Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer emphasized the importance of these proposed measures, stating, “On October 1 of this year, we were able to grant the police access to covert coercive measures even before there is a concrete suspicion of a crime. Today, we have received proposals that mean we can sharpen these tools further by providing access to more coercive measures for preventive purposes, such as covert room surveillance and searches. These are crucial tools to prevent shootings, explosions, and other serious crimes committed within criminal networks.”

The inquiry, prompted by the evolving crime landscape in Sweden, including an alarming rise in shootings, explosions, and extensive economic crime, addresses the challenges posed by rapid technological developments, new communication patterns, a culture of silence, and increased security awareness, which collectively limit authorities’ insight into criminal environments.

The proposal encompasses several key recommendations:

  1. Expanded Coercive Measures: Additional coercive measures and enforcement actions should be allowed for preventive purposes, enabling authorities to act without concrete suspicion of a crime. These measures include covert room surveillance, searches, examinations at another location, and remote searches.
  2. Inhämtningslagen Amendment: The proposal suggests expanding the scope of the “inhämtningslagen” (acquisition law), which allows law enforcement to gather information on electronic communication. The expanded law would be applicable to combat severe forms of theft, fraud, accounting fraud, tax offenses, customs offenses, subsidy offenses, money laundering, fraud, and market manipulation systematically or in an organized form. Real-time information gathering under the acquisition law would also be permitted.
  3. Remote Searches in Immigration Cases: In cases related to immigration with security implications, the proposal suggests allowing the use of the coercive measure of remote searches.

While the proposed legislative changes are expected to take effect on January 1, 2025, the government expresses its commitment to expedite the implementation process. Some of the proposals are intended to be time-limited to facilitate evaluation.