To what Extent is Police Brutality Related to Crime?

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To start with, police brutality and crime are widely known as political issues that have a huge impact on the societies. Police brutality is when police members act and use an unnecessary excessive force towards either a group or an individual (1). This eventually leads to the violation of their civil rights. In addition to that, the misuse of police legitimacy in the society will lead to a deficiency or a defected society where people will not turn to police when facing a problem or a situation where police attendance is needed, and this will be both dangerous and toxic to the society where the image of ‘’Society vs. Police’’ will be developed. It is also one of many unaccepted acts of human rights violations.

The theory of crime on the other hand is considered to be an action that constitutes an offence and is punishable by the law, however the increasing in crime rates has various reasons such are environmental surroundings, lack of education, poverty, drug abuse and of course there is a slight link to border crossing and illegal immigration(2). It is also stated that areas with high crime rates threats the safety and security of the area.

I chose this topic based on both my personal experiences and registered statistics researches on the topic, it is a prime issue because the changes that will occur within the society can be extremely threatening to all the groups in the society. Families and individual’s safety, human civil rights, population and working labour, police brutality and crime will be negatively impacting all factors. It is reported that there is a 24 percent increase in rape cases in the past decade, the sexual offences incidents have been on a rise. I will also be looking at reported police excessive use of force towards civilians to have a wider understanding of the case of police brutality. To what extent is police brutality affecting the increase of crime rates? During this engagement activity, I will have interviews with people who have more knowledge about this political issue such as the police and activists, I will also be focusing on reliable statistics from the crime registry page called ‘Brå’ for further information to know about the increased crime rate and if there us links that connect police brutality with increased crime rates.

The Engagement Activity

Throughout my engagement activity, I came in contact with an Eskilstuna municipality police member to understand how it has been going for the past while in the city of Eskilstuna regarding crime. I chose to meet the police because they will be able to provide me with helpful information because of their knowledge and information on both topics. Throughout the meeting with Thomas Bergqvist a member of Eskilstuna municipality police, I asked him questions about this political issue, and we discussed the important factors behind the two topics of Police brutality and crime. Although Bergqvist was hardly in a position to openly criticise his organization, he regardless provided me with valuable insights into the relationship between police brutality and crime. What I learnt after this meeting is that there is a relationship between police brutality and increased crime rates, however, relating these two topics to each other was considered sensitive and challenging, however, Bergqvist tried to be as equitable as he could be and provided me with helpful information I needed, and a wider understanding of the discussed issues (6), and Bergqvist made it clear that the police also tend to seek for legitimacy in the country and it is more certain to achieve because of the use of the hard power.

My second engagement activity was through the internet with a page called ‘Police brutality and ethnic profiling’. This page aims to spread awareness on the issue of police brutality here in Sweden and their ways are considered as soft power approach due to the fact that they do not have the authority to be using hard power. They share videos, images and stories of those who were abused and racially profiled by the police. I was only able to ask very few questions, but they instead provided me with a link of an interview they had with Aljazeera for a better understanding of the issue of police brutality. (7)

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Engagement Activity Analysis

my first question was focusing on the high registered crime rate statistics in Eskilstuna which has reached 73.56 percent (3) and he explained that the registered numbers are not stating which type of crimes they are and to generalize that he stated that Eskilstuna is not that dangerous and many of the crimes are just traffic-related crimes. Later on, we discussed the fact that the media has labelled some of the areas in Eskilstuna as the ‘’No Go Zone’’ areas (4) and mentioned that those areas are quite dangerous and unsafe, his reply to that was that the media focuses on minorities and are targeting those who represent those areas in a bad image and he stated that he refuses to label those areas with such a name, he mostly prefers to call them the ‘’Prioritized’’ areas. The issue of drug abuse (5) in Eskilstuna county was also mentioned and I have been told by Bergqvist that there are different ways to deal with drug abusers based on what type of drug they are using. For example, the most abused drug is cannabis and the punishment for those who use cannabis is not as harsh as other drugs and the cannabis intoxicated individual will only have to pay a fine between 1,500sek and 2,500 sek. Other drugs that are more considered more dangerous have different punishments that can reach for jail punishment (6). We then moved on to discuss the part of the issue on police brutality, if we have police brutality and how we deal with it if we have one? His answers to this part of the topic were detailed and he stated that we, of course, have police brutality but it is not quite an issue here in Sweden since the police try to stick to their book of law and they try their best not to use excessive force or unneeded use of power but in some cases when a suspect starts becoming a threat to the police or try to obstruct their job, they will then be forced to take serious action and use hard power. A police member who uses excessive power upon an individual can be suspended from their position for a limited time based on what and how they used their authority upon the suspect. He had also mentioned that a police officer can be punished with a jail sentence if his actions were extremely brutal and have caused an injury or death upon an innocent individual or group but such cases are not common and it is a long procedure that does not occur often. I have then asked Bergqvist on why police officers in Eskilstuna or Sweden wear a body camera like officers in the U.S, and his answer to that was that this technique was recently discussed and will be applied for more efficient outcomes by the police. (6)

For my second engagement, I have asked questions on whether there is a relationship between the rising crime rates and police brutality, and how to deal with such issue if we have one here in Sweden. The page members have told me that they aim to stop police brutality and raise awareness on such an issue because they believe that crime and police brutality are related. Fatima Naib Al Sharkawi (7), one of the members have stated that the police treat a person based on their ethnicity and the environment they live in. for example, the treatment of people who live in the suburbs is not the same as the people who live in downtown or rich areas. And that is a reason why the people who live in the suburbs, or as Bergqvist preferred to call them as ‘prioritized areas’, have low trust in the police because they have built the emotion of hate towards each other. However, she had also mentioned that not all police members treat people the same, where there are examples of police members who visit the suburbs to have contact and do activities with the younger generations to develop respect and trust. She had told me to read the interview she had with al Jazeera, where she discusses the problem of structural racism within the police force and military intervention to fight crime in the suburbs, even though military are not allowed to carry out missions on Swedish soils, the idea was earlier discussed as politicians demanded military intervention to fight crime in the city of Malmö (8).

According to the local news articles, organized crime networks in Sweden have started to expand and spread to smaller towns of Sweden, which one example was the city that I currently live in. Eskilstuna a town in south-east Sweden have started to experience violence and shootings in public areas. Lars Öjelind, a gang expert at the national bureau of investigation states that the violence is related to gangs that are spread among eight different areas in the city, the formed groups were previously related to a bigger criminal organization known by the name of Black Cobra. Öjelind have also mentioned that gangs are reformed in a smaller town such as Eskilstuna because mid-sized towns have a weaker police presence and are unfamiliar with approaching gang violence (9).

A realist could argue that becoming a criminal is a matter of choice of people who had never been properly socialised and that it is also combined with the lack of self-control through poor socialisation in schools, and community will create criminals and crimes, Wilson and Herrnstein. On the other hand, there is hardly any theory that explains the various forms of police misconduct against the civilians, however, a liberal could argue that the issue of police brutality is a mortality issue and after all the reported incidents, the justice system is racially biased and mostly targets ethnic groups (10).


In conclusion, one could argue that to a certain extent, there is a relation between crime and police brutality, but police brutality is not the main or only indicator to the rising crime rates. However, police brutality can be an indicator to identity conflict and security threat. Crime on the other hand is present everywhere, but certain factors as such, poor socialisation in schools, community and the environment can affect the increased numbers of crime in specific cities. Awareness campaigns can be a contributor to the reduction of issues such as police brutality and crime (11)(12).

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