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Abuse: Therefore, witnesses are silent when a crime has been committed

2019-10-23T04:42:46.068Z

A fear of threats and violence. Demand for silence from criminal networks. Neighbors or family who resemble the norm of silence. The Crime Prevention Council, Brå, has, on behalf of the government, mapped out the problem of witnesses who do not want or dare to participate in investigations.



Johanna Skinnari is one of the investigators at Brå who has mapped out the silence - including in socially vulnerable areas. She says that standards of silence have long been in the criminal environment, where it is a condition for membership in a criminal network not to talk to the police.

- What is new is that these norms are being pushed more and more to ordinary residents and expect them to follow criminal standards of silence.

What makes you not talk to the police?

- What we primarily hear is that you are afraid of threats and violence if you talk to the police. The residents experience a demand for silence from the visible criminal networks in the areas. We also hear how neighbors and family members are reminiscent of these norms in a well-meaning way, ”says Johanna Skinnari.

“Eight out of ten will not be sentenced”

So far this year, 31 people have been killed in shooting. The deadly violence contributes to silence spread to ordinary citizens, says Criminal Commissioner Gunnar Appelgren. According to him, the clearance rate for homicides in criminal environments is about 20 percent. Eight out of ten will not be sentenced.

What is the message in these areas to ordinary people living there?

- The perception is that the authority does not have the capability. The police are unable to handle these crimes. If I choose to tell you something that is a police officer and nothing of that information happens. I take that discomfort and then the police can't get people convicted, ”says Gunnar Appelgren.

Shorter investigation times can have an impact

The question of the culture of silence has now come up at the government level, there are several suggestions on how to approach the problem - including tougher penalties for trial abuse and better protection for witnesses.

An important factor, says Johanna Skinnari, is to shorten the investigation times.

- There is also a state investigation that has suggested that the information you provide in previous interrogations should weigh more heavily. It would, of course, reduce the incentives for the perpetrators to put pressure on the legal process, because then they have left their information and can not really back away from them. Then you must be satisfied to a greater extent.

The report "Silent witnesses" will be sent on Wednesday 23 October. You can watch it from 12pm on SVT Play or 8pm on SVT1.

Source: svt

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