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Swedes investigate police racism

A Swedish riot policeman in Malmo in December 2008
Sweden's police have been accused of racism before

Sweden's police chief has promised an independent inquiry after officers playing criminals and suspects on a training exercise adopted racist names.

Police commissioner Bengt Svensson said the behaviour of some of the 50 members of the course in Malmo, southern Sweden, was shocking and unacceptable.

"This is totally reprehensible," Mr Svensson told Danish media.

It is unclear whether the names were chosen by staff or trainees. Complaints by some participants came to nothing.

"We're going to appoint an independent person, or people, to investigate this and help Skaane police work on values," Mr Svensson told Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Racial slurs

Last week Sweden's chief prosecutor decided not to press charges against three police officers from the same region, Skaane, who were caught on police video using racist insults during a riot in the predominantly immigrant neighbourhood of Rosengaard in Malmo in December.

The riots were linked to the closure of an Islamic centre.

The owner of the building, in an immigrant neighbourhood, had decided not to renew the centre's lease. The centre, which included a mosque, had to move out. Youths squatting in the premises were evicted by police and then staged violent protests.

Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask told Dagens Nyheter she was "very concerned and upset" at reports of police racism.



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