Sweden: Cash crisis in city storesCash crisis in city stores
The temporary stoppage of cash deliveries and collections by security vehicles in certain parts of the country has led to unusually large quantities of cash at shops, supermarkets and department stores. That is putting business in a high-risk position, said the head of security at the Swedish Federation of Trade, Dick Malmlund. "We have stores which have collections twice a day under normal circumstances," he said. "They haven't had any pick-ups at all since this started last Friday. It means that they are accumulating cash in a big way, which naturally isn't good." Almost half of all cash machines in Sweden's main cities was empty on Sunday. But according to Dick Malmlund the lack of cash did not affect the weekend's sales figures. Purchases with cards were 15-20% higher than usual.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority decided on Friday that all unprotected security deliveries in the country would be stopped until Monday afternoon, when the security companies are to present a new risk assessment to the authorities. "I assume that the security industry understands how serious this is now," said Dick Malmlund before the meeting. "It's not acceptable just to wait and dither with this issue. The must create a system so that they are not exposed to these attacks." The meeting at the Swedish Work Environment Authority will be held after lunch and a decision on the matter is not expected until 3pm at the earliest. In the six years to 2004, more than 450 million kronor were stolen from security vehicles in Sweden. According to European figures, 224 security vehicles were robbed during that period. Only the United Kingdom, France and Poland, countries with far higher populations, experienced more attacks.
Sweden is also fourth if countries are ranked by the total amount stolen, according to Sydsvenskan. This, combined with the fact that Swedish police only catch the robbers in around half of the cases means that the industry is now demanding a series of measures from the authorities. One of the key demands is that the police should coordinate their work across the country. The insurance industry wants the National Police Department to form a special unit with overall responsibility for preventing and following up security vehicle robberies. But the police are opposed to the idea, pointing out that they already have a group dedicated to organised crime, which includes these kinds of robberies. There have still been no arrests for the raid in Bohuslän on Thursday, in which two armed men robbed a Securitas truck on the E6 near Stora Höga.
Robbers roam highways
Gangs of road pirates pose an increased threat on Swedish highways, Swedish radio news channel SR reported. The highway robbers strike at night, attacking travelers who have parked their mobile homes by the road to sleep. Swedish police said 30 robberies had already been reported this summer, most of them in the southern and western parts of the country. In seven robberies, the pirates sprayed anesthetic gas into the mobile homes to ensure that its residents remained asleep while they stripped the cabin of valuables. Tourists are warned about the robbers when they cross the Øresund Bridge, aboard ferries, and in service areas. The Swedish police said they had contacted European intelligence agency Europol for further information about the road pirates. ‘We suspect they are criminal gangs from the former Yugoslavia,’ said Per-Arne Nilsson from the police in Mölndal, which is in charge of coordinating the Swedish effort against the robberies.
Sweden: Bus and Subway Protest Against Violence
All public transportation in Sweden is coming to a halt for 2 minutes at noon Friday. The stop is a protest against increased violence and threats against bus drivers, ticket-takers, and other personnel. It is a joint action by both employers and unions. Bus drivers have called for a change in the system so that they will no longer have to handle money, and for the installation of security cameras to identify trouble-makers.