Increased confidence in the criminal justice system

27 February, 2009
Basic confidence in the Swedish criminal justice system increased between 2006 and 2008.
Basic confidence in the criminal justice system increased between 2006 and 2008. This is confirmed by the National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå — Brottsförebyggande rådet) in its annual Swedish Crime Survey, which is presented today.
'Confidence in prosecutors, the courts, and the correctional system increased markedly, while confidence in the police remained at a relatively high level,' reports Jennie Wigerholt, researcher at Brå.

Of those surveyed, six out of ten reported a high level of confidence in the police. Half reported high levels of confidence in prosecutors and the courts, while the figures for the correctional system were somewhat lower — 36 percent.

High profile events can affect confidence

In the county of Blekinge, far fewer of the residents reported a high level of confidence in the police than the national average. Levels of confidence in Blekinge have declined greatly since the previous survey — down from 60 to 47 percent. At the same time, almost a quarter of those surveyed reported low levels of confidence in the police. This is probably the effect of widely reported events in the village of Rödeby, where a father shot and killed a young man who was trespassing on family property — the victim was at the time in company of another young man known to have harassed the son of the family on several occasions. The family had repeatedly reported their harassment to the police during the months leading up to the shooting, but the police had failed to act upon these reports.

'We cannot say for sure that it is due to the incidents that took place in Rödeby, but it is a reasonable assumption. Even if the overall level of confidence in the police is high, this confidence is still quite fragile and it has to be nurtured,' notes Jan Andersson, Brå's Director General.

More results:

  • One in four people aged between 16-79 were subjected to some kind of crime during 2007.
  • 2.9 percent were exposed to assault, which amounts to 204,000 individuals.
  • 24 percent of crimes against the person were reported to the police.
  • Four out of five say that they are not worried about being personally subjected to crime, but that they are concerned about crime in society as a whole.
  • Some groups, such as women, the elderly, people of foreign origin and people living in blocks of flats, feel less secure than others.
  • Confidence that the criminal justice system will take good care of victims is relatively low (37 percent), while the police score much higher on the same question (52 percent).

About the Swedish Crime Survey:

The Survey, which has been carried out for the consecutive third year, measures the extent to which the general public is exposed to crime. It also surveys the nature of people's experiences of the justice system, as well as how secure the general public feels and their confidence in the justice system. The Swedish Crime Survey is based on interviews conducted with 15,000 persons aged between 16 and 79. The results are for the most part presented at the national level, but they are also presented for counties and for certain municipalities.