This week, I had my first field study! I have been waiting and waiting for this opportunity — every Wednesday is reserved not for classes, but for ‘field studies’ for each of your classes. While having Wednesdays to explore so far has allowed me to do some super fun exploring including the Photography Museum, Djurgården, various cafes and restaurants, and of course the ABBA Museum (I knew nothing about ABBA before, but low-key had the best time ever!!!) and other parts of Stockholm, I was jealous of the cool field trips that some of my friends had gone on. (Think Moderna Museet, Royal Palace, the Swedish Parliament, Skansen, and Karolinska).
No worries, my first field trip did NOT disappoint!! My Terrorism & Anti-Terrorism class went to the National Police headquarters — Rikskriminalpolisen. We got to meet with one of the officers in the counter-terrorism unit and learn firsthand about some of the things the Swedish police are doing in order to control terrorism. Although the biggest agency for counter-terrorism in Sweden is the Swedish Security Service, which is essentially the Swedish version of the CIA, the police have to comply with all the polices and ideas that the Security Service finds to be best practices.
It was super interesting getting to compare the Swedish police force and the American police force. A couple of the really interesting differences are that Swedish officers are always on double patrol, which means that they always travel two to a car, instead of just one like in America. The drawback is that they have fewer cars on the streets, but it is much safer for the officers in the case of an issue.
Another interesting thing we learned was that the Swedish police are not allowed to use undercover officers, because the law does not allow any exceptions for police officers who might have to commit a crime in order to make their cover plausible/believable. This is super different from the U.S., where some cops are constantly moving around and drastically changing their appearance for different cases.
Although the Counter-Terrorism unit of the Polisen is not responsible for gathering intelligence, they are responsible for implementing strategies as well as reacting in case of the event of an attack. We learned the three steps of Sweden’s Counter-Terrorism strategy:
1. Förebygga: (Prevent) — counteracting radicalization and the recruitment of terror groups within Sweden; reduce the intent of individuals to support terrorist groups or acts
2. Förhindra: (Pre-empt) — Reduce the capabilities and opportunities for terrorists to commit attacks
3. Försvåra: (Protect) — Pretty self-explanatory, but the ability of the police and other government agencies to protect society in the event of any attack.
Anyways, sorry to drag on about terrorism but this has been one of my favorite classes at DIS so far and our field trip was awesome! It is so cool to see counter-terrorism in action and think about the similarities and differences with the US.
Writing this from Paris – au revoir for now!
Ab – “you know you’re becoming Swedish when you can’t stop saying ‘tack’ to everyone in France” -by