Are Swedish crime statistics being doctored?
The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) is facing serious accusations. According to a report put out by Linköping University, the Council, which is subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and carries out research and gathers statistics on crime, has been doctoring its findings in line with political guidelines for years. Sweden's press is outraged.
Sugar-coated facts no help to anyone
The Social Democrat-led government must shoulder its responsibility, Expressen stresses:
“Justice Minister Morgan Johansson should ensure that more research can be carried out in this area at universities - in a spirit of competition that has nothing to do with political finger-pointing and influence peddling. ... The abuses reported in the study don't just damage Brå's credibility. Ultimately, the false image conveyed by the study could render the fight against crime less effective. The last thing we need in these times when Sweden is plagued by shootings and bombings is an authority that tries to sweep uncomfortable facts under the carpet.”
We'll have to read between the lines in future
Göteborgs-Posten says the whole affair reeks of the Soviet Union:
“The 'correct' version of the truth about crime rates in Sweden was more important than the truth itself. ... Trust in our state and authorities is entirely based on the fact that they do their work reliably. If an agency's goal is to provide solid and impartial data that describes social trends, then the citizens, officials and politicians must be able to rely on it. ... The National Council's mission is to be neutral and carry out its tasks regardless of the consequences. It has now emerged that this has not been the case. Should the Swedes now adopt a corresponding attitude towards its reports? Or in other words, must they read between the lines and assume that A actually means B?”